Manager Pete Stiles keen to bolster at the back after losing three defenders through injury in Shaftesbury home thumping

Pete Stiles is on the lookout for a couple of new 'experienced' defensive recruits in the wake of Fareham Town's Wessex League Premier Division Halloween horror show against Shaftesbury.

Sunday, 31st October 2021, 3:32 pm
Fareham Town's Garry Moody, left, was forced off with an ankle injury against Shaftesbury. Picture: Keith Woodland

The Reds lost three of their starting back four through injury over the course of the match, ended with 10 players as substitute Josh Benfield was forced off with a knock in the final 10 minutes with no replacements left for Stiles to use and lost 5-0 at home on a dismal day.

Stiles was fuming with his side's 'woeful' efforts and said his young team were 'naive'.

And with centre-half Archie Willcox facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines after dislocating shoulder and no prognosis when fellow defenders Jack Breed (hamstring) and Garry Moody (ankle) might return having come off against Shaftesbury, Stiles is now in desperate need of strengthening in that area.

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The Reds boss said: ‘It wasn’t the best of days for several reasons. We were very short defensively yesterday and I lost three of my back four during the game so we were up the creek without a paddle yesterday.

‘Archie Willcox dislocated his shoulder, Garry Moody rolled his ankle, Jack Breed’s hamstring went so I had to take him and Garry off at half time.

‘We brought Josh Benfield on at half-time - we were only going to give him 15 or 20 minutes - he’s done his ankle so we ended up with 10 players.

‘To be fair, I’ve got to go and get a couple more defenders. We were very young yesterday and we were very naive. I need to go an sign a couple of experienced defenders.

‘We had a couple of players who were 28 yesterday, but after that I think the oldest one was about 23 and it showed yesterday.

‘I can accept losing but I can’t accept heads going down and giving up - my teams don’t do that and they did.’

Fareham were only trailing 1-0 at the break after Ash Phillips' 27th-minute opener before a second-half capitulation.

Greg Peel struck from the spot soon after the restart with Aidan Shepherd, Kyle Graham and Luke Delaney all getting in on the act as Fareham fell apart.

Stiles added: ‘I was disappointed with certain players feeling sorry for themselves - they’ve just got to man up and dig in. I was really disappointed with that.

‘Don’t get me wrong, the score flattered us, they could have had a lot more than that. We were woeful, absolute woeful, we looked alright for the first 10-15 minutes.

‘It was 1-0 at half-time, we changed our shape at half-time through lack of defenders, we went for them a bit and we were so naive the way we gave away a penalty and that just knocked the stuffing out of us.’