Fareham move joint top of the Wessex League Premier Division after third successive win

Fareham Town moved into joint-top spot in the Wessex League Premier Division with a third successive victory.

Sunday, 20th September 2020, 2:14 pm
Fareham's Archie Wilcox was on target in the Reds' 2-1 victory at Bournemouth Poppies. Picture: Duncan Shepherd

The Reds are now level on points with Horndean - but second on goal difference - after beating Bournemouth Poppies 2-1 at Victoria Park.

Manager Pete Stiles admitted league tables mean little so early in the season - but it is still a nice feeling.

'There is still a long, long way to go,’ said Stiles.

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'It is nice to be looking up for a change instead of all the years we have been at the other end.

'I am feeling a lot better than after our first two games of the season.

'We are still nowhere near playing at our best but still picking up results.

'I like to think that we will improve our performances as we go along and I’m convinced better things are still to come.'

Fareham dominated the game from start to finish but failed to take their opportunities in a goalless first half.

The biggest scare for the visitors came from an Archie Willcox back pass that wrong-footed his own goalkeeper.

Fortunately for the Reds, Dan Kempson was able to race back and clear the ball.

At the start of the second half Willcox headed against the upright at the other end.

The deserved breakthrough arrived on 72 minutes after Josh Benfield got on the end of a long free-kick.

His fiercely-struck angled shot was pushed out but brother Callum Benfield's shot was deflected in.

Straight from the restart the visitors forced another corner and, when the ball was swung in, a defender was adjudged to have handled.

Willcox sent the home goalkeeper the wrong way with his spot-kick.

Stiles wasn't happy that Bournemouth pulled a goal back four minutes from time.

'It was a stupid goal to give away at the death,' he said.

'Bournemouth hadn't been it and suddenly they are in with a chance.

'We have to learn to put teams to bed earlier.

'Our strikers are not scoring goals but I am sure that it will only be a matter of time.'

Fareham’s next two league games are against teams still searching for their first win.

They face Portland, who have shipped 15 goals in losing their last three league and cup games - including an 8-1 trouncing at Baffins - at Cams Alders next weekend before travelling to Amesbury on October 3.