Josh Benfield strikes again as Fareham Town complete league double over leaders Alresford Town
Fareham Town produced an outstanding battling performance to complete a league double over Wessex Premier leaders Alresford Town at Arlebury Park.
An early Josh Benfield goal proved enough to give the Reds a 1-0 victory at the table-toppers.
The same man also netted twice as Fareham thrashed Alresford 7-1 at Cams Alders in October.
The Reds' manager Pete Stiles felt his side deserved their success.
‘It is not as if we snatched it at the death because we scored our goal really early,’ said Stiles.
‘We rode our luck a couple of times but our win was fully warranted.
‘Obviously, at times we had to defend because they threw everything at us.
‘But we defended well as a team on not the easiest of pitches.
‘It was pleasing that we got the win by still trying to play our football.’
The pitch was soft but playable and the visitors started the game with the strong wind at their back.
It didn't take the Reds long to make their mark.
After just two minutes, Benfield picked the ball up on the left, cut in across the edge of the area and unleashed an unstoppable drive into the top far corner.
The pattern of the game saw the hosts pumping long balls upfield as the Reds looked to hit them on the counter-attack.
Benfield, Archie Willcox and Connor Messenbird all went close with Fareham causing problems on the break.
Goalkeeper Declan McCarthy pulled off a good save as the visitors came under pressure after the restart.
At the same time, the Reds continued to create chances and Lewis Stockford skimmed the crossbar with one shot.
Further resolute defending kept the big spending league leaders at bay until the end.
Fareham become only the second team - after Horndean - to complete the double over Alresford so far this season.
‘That is six points we have taken off the team at the top of the league,’ said Stiles.
‘It shows that if we can get our act together when we play some of the lower teams, who knows where we can go?’
The Reds are in Russell Cotes quarter-final action against Alton Town on Tuesday.