Huge crowd watch on as AFC Portchester serve up fine fightback to claim 'El Creekio' derby honours over rivals Fareham Town

AFC Portchester produced a stunning comeback to claim an 'El Creekio' derby victory over big rivals Fareham Town in front of a bumper crowd at Cams Alders.

By Lewis Mason
Tuesday, 4th January 2022, 8:17 am
Rafa Ramos fires home his second goal in AFC Portchester's derby victory at Fareham Town. Picture: Sam Stephenson
Rafa Ramos fires home his second goal in AFC Portchester's derby victory at Fareham Town. Picture: Sam Stephenson

The Royals cancelled out efforts in the opening 40 minutes from Stuart Morgan and Archie Willcox, with Rafa Ramos' quickfire double late in the first-half and skipper Steve Ramsey's free-kick on the hour wrapping up a 3-2 triumph for the visitors in front of a huge crowd of 621.

Fareham were well deserving of their early 2-0 advantage, thanks to headers from Morgan and Willcox, before Portchester rallied to superbly to make it two wins and a draw in their three 'El Creekio' derbies this season.

This thrilling victory followed on from a home Hampshire Senior Cup triumph over the Reds last month and the 2-2 league draw at Portchester back in August.

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AFC Portchester celebrate after drawing level at 2-2 against rivals Fareham Town. Picture: Sam Stephenson

Fareham have the highest average home attendance of any team in the Wessex League Premier this term and now they hold another crowd-related record after what was a bumper turnout for the bank holiday affair.

The mighty impressive Cams Alders attendance of 621 for the ‘El Creekio’ derby is the highest number of supporters at a single Wessex Premier game this season - surpassing the previous best of 518 who turned out to watch Baffins host Moneyfields in August.

Yesterday’s crowd is also a Fareham Wessex best and the highest anywhere in the Wessex since 2015/16.

With both sides having gone 18 days without a competitive fixture, it was Fareham who came out at a fast-paced tempo.

Portchester goalkeeper Steve Mowthorpe did well to keep out Morgan's early curling effort while Josh Benfield blazed before the breakthrough arrived. Tom Settle's delightful deep delivery was met by an unmarked Morgan, who headed the hosts in front after 21 minutes.

The Reds continued to drive forward and doubled their advantage five minutes before the break. Willcox's clever flicked header from the edge of the area looped over Mowthorpe after Settle was again provider, this time from a fizzed free-kick.

Portchester had a fortuitous lifeline on 44 minutes as Marley Ridge's effort from the edge of the area deflected in off Ramos for his first Royals goal.

Incredibly, Portchester were then level three minutes into first-half stoppage-time with Ramos grabbing his second from close range after Ridge sent a precise pass across goal.

After Ethan Jones had been forced off in the first-half through injury, Fareham were dealt a blow as centre-back and goalscorer Willcox was substituted clutching his shoulder eight minutes after the restart.

Portchester were then going crazy when captain Ramsey's free-kick from the left-edge of the area somehow evaded everyone and found the bottom corner on the hour mark.

Fareham were now doing all they could to force a way back into a game they appeared in control of in the first-half.

Debutant goalkeeper Henry Woodcock did brilliantly to save Lee Wort's effort down low eight minutes from time as Portchester searched for a killer fourth.

Fareham’s Morgan then saw his smart turn and shot saved by Mowthorpe in second-half stoppage-time before substitute Gary Austin sent a shot wide of goal just seconds after returning from a stint in the sin-bin.

But the Royals managed to see it out and continue their fine pre-Christmas form which now sees them unbeaten in seven matches.

Fareham Town: Woodcock; Jones, Willcox, Moody, Tattersall, Settle, Breed, Cooper, J.Benfield, Bartlett-Scott, Morgan. Subs: Clark (Jones, 31), Bennett (Willcox, 53), Austin (Tattersall, 79), Robbins, Rowthorn.

AFC Portchester: Mowthorpe; Giddings, DaCosta, Pearce, Bailey, Raine, Ramsey, Barker, Ridge, Ramos, Wort. Subs: Sharp (Giddings, 70), Jatta (Ramos, 76), Searle, Aston, Clarke.