Fareham concede five again as Brockenhurst keep pressure on Wessex League Premier Division leaders Horndean
Fareham’s defensive woes were on show again as they slumped to a fourth successive Wessex League Premier Division defeat.
The Creeksiders conceded five goals for the second time in four days at Cams Alders and for the third time in four home matches spanning three different competitions.
After previously losing 5-0 (v Shaftesbury, league) and 5-3 (v Abbey Rangers, FA Vase), Pete Stiles’ men crashed 5-1 to high-flying Brockenhurst on a chilly evening.
But the hosts wasted enough chances in the second half to have made the final scoreline a lot, lot closer. And it could all have been a lot different had Brock keeper James Mayo been sent off in the first half.
On 24 minutes, with the visitors 2-0 up, Mayo - under no real pressure - booted a clearance against Charlie Cooper. Then, as the Fareham midfielder looked likely to score, Mayo brought Cooper down just yards from goal.
Mayo could have had few complaints had referee Liam White brandished a red card, but the official only showed a yellow.
Whether he thought he was equalling things out - having previously booked Fareham left-back Ash Tattersall for giving away the spot-kick which led to the second Brock goal - only he will know.
But it was certainly a huge talking point - and potential turning point - in a game where the final scoreline flattered Brock in terms of possession and chances created.
Mayo didn’t complete the game, being substituted for Matt Taylor just after the hour mark due to an injury, but by that stage his side were 5-1 up and on course to keep the pressure on leaders Horndean.
As for Fareham, one point from the last 15 - and that a last-gasp leveller at Cowes Sports - has left them in the bottom half of the table.
Stiles handed a first XI debut to Dane Rigby, the fifth goalkeeper he has used this season, as well as striker Stuart Morgan.
Rigby’s hopes of a clean sheet were shattered inside five minutes when Brock took the lead. Rigby dived to his left to parry a shot from Silvano Obeng, but Christie Ward reacted quickest to net the rebound.
It could easily have been 2-0 after 11 minutes but Rigby produced a fine save from Kieran O’Donnell after the Reds defence had been sliced open by a quick passing move.
Brock did add a second on 22 minutes, though, Tattersall’s push in the box being punished when Obeng converted a penalty for his 26th goal of the season.
It was a strike which took him level with Horndean’s Connor Duffin as the leading marksman in the division (league and cup goals included).
Ben Rowthorn reduced the arrears shortly after from the game’s second penalty, with Cooper having hobbled off following lengthy treatment after Mayo’s foul.
Though Cooper did return to the action, he was clearly suffering and was replaced by Kai Sterne on 35 minutes.
Brock, looking dangerous almost every time they counter attacked, restored their two-goal advantage six minutes later, O’Donnell hitting the post from close range and Alex Haynes firing in the rebound.
Fareham were instantly forced into a second change with Tattersall going off to be replaced by Ethan Jones.
The hosts needed a good start to the second period, but didn’t get it. After the first five minutes had been played almost entirely in the Reds half, they conceded a fourth when Seung Woo-Hang fired in a low shot.
Morgan dribbled his way past a few challenges shortly after, weaving his way into the six-yard box. But just when it looked as if he had to score, Brock centre back Joe Chamberlain did well to deflect his shot for a corner.
Brock made their first change on 55 minutes when Matt Sheedy came on for Lyle Simpson and, within six minutes, the sub had collected Obeng’s pass to drill in his side’s fifth goal.
After that, it was virtually all Fareham.
One effort was hacked off the Brock line, Ryan Mackney fired just wide and sub keeper Taylor blocked a Simon Woods shot.
Taylor then dived low to parry a Morgan shot before Sterne looked odds on to score, but sent a near post effort across the six-yard box and wide.
Sterne went even closer with three minutes left, lobbing Taylor only to see the ball rebound off the crossbar.
The Brock goal certainly led a charmed life once Mayo went off, but it was clear from their forward play to see why the New Forest side have been the surprise side of the Wessex Premier season so far.
Obeng caused problems throughout, as someone approaching 30 goals by December should be capable of, while Ward, O’Donnell and Simpson were also lively.
It doesn’t get any easier for Fareham, however, with a trip to free-scoring table-toppers Horndean next up this Saturday. They haven’t kept a clean sheet in the league since September 7, and will do very well to record one at Five Heads Park.
Fareham: Rigby, Wilcox, Tattersall (Jones, 42), Robbins, Kidson, Clark, Cooper (Sterne, 35), Rowthorn, Morgan, Mackney, Woods.
Brockenhurst: Mayo (Taylor, 63), Ings, Moore, Chamberlain (Keates, 66), Smith, Woo-Yang, O’Donnell, Haynes, Obeng, Ward, Simpson (Sheedy, 55).