‘It showed what we are capable of’ – 10-man Fareham Town dent Horndean’s stunning defensive record with superb Wessex League Premier win

Jack Breed heads in his second goal, and Fareham's fourth. Picture by Ken WalkerJack Breed heads in his second goal, and Fareham's fourth. Picture by Ken Walker
Jack Breed heads in his second goal, and Fareham's fourth. Picture by Ken Walker
Fareham Town stunned Horndean for the second season running to edge a seven-goal Wessex League thriller.

The Deans arrived at Cams Alders having only conceded nine goals in 17 Premier Division fixtures.

That was the best record in the top 10 tiers of English football; though Anstey (United Counties League) had also conceded just nine times, they had played a game fewer than Horndean.

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But after letting in only nine goals in 25 and a half hours of league football in 2022/23 (plus stoppage time), Deans keeper Cameron Scott was beaten four times in the first half.

The Creeksiders stormed into a 4-2 interval lead, and held on despite seeing captain Garry Moody shown a straight red for a foul on Ben Anderson minutes after the restart.

Though they enjoyed a lot of possession, Deans could only muster a late consolation from Harry Jackson.

That left them 18 points adrift of table-topping AFC Portchester, with four games in hand.

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‘It was a good game, with a good crowd and played in the right spirit,’ Reds boss Graham Rix told The News.

‘Horndean are a good side, they have some good players, but we played our part as well.

‘It shows what we are capable of when everyone is fit and we approach games in the right manner.

‘The boys worked hard, oh my God they worked hard, and they reaped their rewards. Right from the off we were straight at it.’

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Robbins had made his first appearance of the season at Cowes the previous weekend, scoring a late winner in a 2-1 success after coming on as a sub. That game also marked Josh Benfield’s first outing since mid-October. Both players had been sidelined with knee injuries.

Against Horndean Robbins, handed his first start of 2022/23, opened the scoring with a header before Sam Hookey levelled.

Benfield restored the Reds’ lead before Jack Breed, playing alongside Robbins in central midfield, struck twice in quick succession.

Connor Duffin grabbed a second for Horndean just before half-time.

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Following Moody’s dismissal, Rix reshuffled by taking Benfield off, putting Robbins up front, and bringing on Kieran Clark to play in central defence.

‘We went 4-4-1,’ said Rix. ‘The lads worked their socks off. Horndean move the ball well, and so everybody had to put in a shift.

‘It was a good performance and a good result - the club was buzzing last night.’

Regarding Moody’s red card – which could bring a three-game suspension – Rix stated: ‘I thought it was harsh, I couldn’t believe it. To be fair, the Horndean bench thought it was harsh as well.’

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It was only Horndean’s second Wessex loss of the season, after a 1-0 setback at Hythe & Dibden on September 3. Since then, they had won 12 and drawn two in an unbeaten 14-game run.

Fareham’s win also brought back memories of last season’s stunning 5-1 win at Five Heads Park, at a time when Horndean were top of the table.

The Reds are home again on Tuesday, aiming to reach the semi-finals of the Wessex League Cup.

They try again against Andover New Street, following the abandonment of last Tuesday’s first attempt at half-time due to cold weather.

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‘It was fine to start with, but there was one portion of the pitch which became a bit tricky. It was dangerous. It was frustrating for them (New Street), I get that.’

Horndean are back in Wessex action on Tuesday at Pagham.