Deans set sights on top-five spot in season finale
Horndean can secure a fifth-placed finish by beating Newport IOW at Five Heads Park tonight in their final game of the Wessex League premier division season (7.45pm).
A win will see Craig Pearce’s side leapfrog AFC Portchester, who they beat 3-2 on Saturday.
Horndean are already assured of their highest-ever Wessex premier finish but Pearce wants to see them end the campaign on a winning note.
Against the Royals, Horndean were by far the better side for the majority of the contest.
It was only when tiredness set in that the visitors managed to grab two late goals.
By then, however, it was far too late to make a difference.
Pearce felt the win showed the spirit in his squad
He said: ‘On Saturday morning we were trying to get players fit and available to play.
‘The effort was superb and tactically Portchester fell into our trap of getting tight on them when they tried to play out from the back.
‘Our work ethic has been great all season.’
Horndean took a deserved 26th-minute lead through impressive youngster Sam Smart.
Smart, who is off to Florida on a football scholarship in the summer, knocked the ball in after the goalkeeper failed to hold a Lee Tigwell cross.
In the second half, further goals from Tigwell and former Pompey midfielder Jack Maloney put the home side firmly in the driving seat.
Jason Parish and Tom Cain hit the Royals goals but it was too little too late.
Portchester manager Graham Rix was angry with the way his team ended their season.
‘We were shocking on Saturday and not one of our players covered themselves in glory,’ he said.
‘I am really disappointed because the players looked like they are already on the beach.
‘There was no passion, little determination and we were nowhere near it.
‘They let the club down and I don’t say that very often.’
Fareham Town finished in style with a 6-0 win over Verwood Town at Cams Alders.
Simon Woods and Benny Read both netted doubles, with Liam Kimber and Ashley Tattersall joining them on the scoresheet as the Reds ended their season on a high.