Horndean on brink of winning Wessex League title for the first time after PO postcode derby victory at Baffins
Michael Birmingham’s men continued their astonishing run by winning 2-0 at Baffins Milton Rovers tonight.
An 11th successive Premier Division win - and their 17th in 18 games - saw them leapfrog AFC Portchester into pole position.
Zack Willett’s 43rd league goal of the campaign and a late second from half-time sub Connor Duffin took Horndean into a one-point lead over the Royals, and they still have a game in hand.
Anything but a win against Bemerton on Saturday will take an enthralling Premier Division title race down to the final games next Tuesday.
But victory over the fourth-placed Harlequins, who can still grab second place themselves, will see the Deans win the title and clinch automatic promotion to the Southern League.
Horndean’s record since losing 4-3 at Fareham at the end of January has been spectacular.
Tonight’s win at Baffins means they have scored 70 goals in their last 18 games, dropping just three points in the process, while conceding only six goals.
And three of the goals they shipped came in one game - a 5-3 success at Shaftesbury!
Horndean have now only conceded twice in their last 11 league games, and one of those goals was a penalty.
Horndean went ahead just before the hour mark when ex-Rovers player Tommy Tierney swung in a free-kick which Willett bundled in from close range.
Duffin, who replaced Harry Jackson at half-time, added a second in the 87th minute - his 22nd goal of the season.
Ex-Baffins player Robbie Taw provided the chance from which Duffin saw a header saved, but he quickly stabbed home the rebound.
Portchester could still win the title, but they would need to win their last game at Bemerton next Tuesday and hope Horndean pick up only a point from their last two games.
If Portchy won at Bemerton and Horndean took two points from their last two games, the latter would still win the title due to their far superior goal difference – plus 105 compared to plus 69.
At the other end of the top flight table, US Portsmouth boosted their hopes of avoiding relegation.
In their penultimate game, they defeated Hythe & Dibden 3-1 at the Victory Stadium to move four points clear of second-bottom Pagham, who have a game in hand.
After a goalless first half, USP took a 3-0 lead through goals from Simon Woods, Lamin Jatta and Dan Sibley.
Moneyfields suffered a 2-0 loss at Brockenhurst, who scored just before half-time though Adam Williams and again in the last 10 minutes through Elliott Simpson.