Moneys cash in against nine-man Portchester
Lewis Fennemore scored twice as Moneyfields continued their charge towards the Wessex League premier division title with a 3-1 win over nine-man AFC Portchester.
The fourth-placed Royals had Josh Warren dismissed in only the 16th minute after Andy Todd had cancelled out Fennemore’s opener.
Fennemore hit a second and substitute James Guthrie extended Moneys’ lead in the second half before Joe Bye was given his marching orders in stoppage-time.
However, Royals manager Graham Rix saluted the bravery of his side.
He said: ‘It is always difficult when you go down to 10 men so early.
‘I thought to get sent off for two minor offences that early was harsh.
The attitude and endeavour shown by the lads after that was terrific.
‘We didn’t let our heads drop and gave a good account of ourselves – continuing to play enterprising football.
‘They showed a great team spirit and attitude.
‘The goals we conceded were poor, however, and we have to defend set-pieces better.
‘We needed to win because we are now 13 points behind Moneyfields.
‘We won’t be giving up, though, and will keep chasing them to the end.’
The game began in dramatic fashion – with both teams scoring in the first five minutes.
Fennemore headed in a lofted ball from Dan Wooden to put the visitors in front on three minutes.
Two minutes later, Todd rose at the far post to nod in a Rob Evans cross for the equaliser.
Soon afterwards it took a superb one-handed save from Moneys keeper Steve Mowthorpe to stop Bye putting the Royals ahead.
The drama continued when Royals defender Warren was sent off in the 16th minute for a second yellow card.
Fennemore then slotted home his second goal of the game on 34 minutes when the hosts failed to clear a corner.
Royals keeper Cameron Scott denied Steve Hutchings with his legs eight minutes into the second half.
The gutsy Royals, however, continued to take the game to the leaders at every opportunity.
They were almost rewarded on 61 minutes when a superb move ended with Nathan Kirby heading narrowly past the post.
A minute later Moneyfields tightened their grip as Guthrie headed in their third goal.
It was a cruel blow to Portchester, who had played the more enterprising football despite being a man short.
In stoppage-time, the Royals’ misery was complete when they were reduced to nine men after Bye was shown a straight red for a reckless tackle.
AFC Portchester: Scott, Evans, Moody, Kirby, Warren, Cain, Clarke, Bye, Todd, Baldacchino, Easter. Subs: Stone, Froggatt, Ramsey, Mukerjee
Moneyfields: Mowthorpe, Giddings, Bailey, Fennemore, Martin, Woodward, Raine, Austin, Paxton, Hutchings, Wooden. Subs: Guthrie, Spurway, Tattersall, Gauntlett, Stockford, Da Costa
n Horndean battled back from 3-1 down to draw 3-3 with Alresford Town at Five Heads Park.
Jack Warren and Mark Smith netted the crucial goals after Robbie Tambling had levelled at 1-1.
Fareham Town’s clash at Amesbury was postponed.