Frustration for AFC Portchester as Wessex Premier rivals force FA Cup replay
AFC Portchester were left to rue conceding another late equaliser as they were taken to an FA Cup preliminary round replay by Wessex League Premier Division rivals Blackfield & Langley.
Kieran Roberts' first-half strike looked to be enough to take the Royals through in the tie before Fatah Makhloufi's leveller 15 minutes from time ensured it ended 1-1.
It was yet more frustration for Portchester after they conceded a last-gasp effort to be held at home by rivals Fareham in their 'El Creekio' derby meeting last time out.
Boss Dave Carter is confident his side will have enough to get past Blackfield when the sides meet at the OnSite Group Stadium on Tuesday.
But the Portchester boss felt his troops did enough to get through at the first attempt - prior to a defensive mix-up between Sam Pearce and goalkeeper Steve Mowthorpe proved costly.
Carter said: ‘No disrespect to them, we defended really well the whole game, we had a game plan and it was working to a T and then it was just a defensive mix up, really.
‘Our goalkeeper has called the ball and Sam Pearce has gone to clear it and their centre-forward was slotted in. It was an absolute gift of a goal and I felt we did enough to win the game.
‘They’re dangerous opposition, they’re quick, young, move the ball and travel with the ball well so they’re quite dangerous opposition.
‘We had a game plan and everything had gone perfectly apart from that one mistake - the only mistake we made the whole game - other than that they had two long distance shots.
‘We created less chances than we had been creating, it’s a big pitch at Blackfield as well, but the lads worked hard but disappointed, again, that we let in another late goal and being able to see it out.
‘It’s one mistake, it’s frustrating, but we’re still in the hat and we’ll go again Tuesday in the replay.’
Roberts continued his blistering start to the season in front of goal, firing the Royals ahead after 38 minutes with his fifth strike in just four games.
That looked to have done the job to see Carter's side through before Blackfield's leveller 15 minutes from time.
Pearce and goalkeeper Mowthorpe got themselves in a pickle with Makhloufi seizing on the chance that fell his way to make it 1-1.
The two sides will have to do it all again in a replay in midweek as it ended all square.
Portchester will have to come through without midfielder Lewis Fennemore who is facing up to a month out after injuring his calf at Blackfield.