Two first-half doubles from Horndean strike duo Gary Austin and Nathan Paxton did the damage as the hosts ran out 5-1 winners against rivals Fareham Town in the Wessex League premier division last night.
Relegation-threatened Fareham never really looked like troubling the Deans and remain two points from safety.
The game got off to a scrappy start, with both sides struggling to gain control of the ball on an uneven Five Heads Park surface.
It was Horndean who settled quickest, though, and duly led with the first meaningful attack on goal after six minutes.
The ball was drilled into a packed Fareham box with the alert Austin in the right place to direct the ball into the net.
The hosts then stepped up a gear and doubled their lead six minutes later.
A cross from the left found Paxton with all the time in the world to steer his header past Tom Webb.
The Deans were now in total control of the game and added a third when Austin looped his header over the stranded Webb.
Dave Carter’s men weren’t done there though.
And the home side extended their first-half rout two minutes before the break when Paxton twisted and turned on the edge of the area, before rifling a shot into the bottom left corner.
Austin looked certain to complete his hat-trick on 54 minutes after weaving his way into the penalty area, only to be denied by a fantastic last-ditch tackle from James Rolfe.
Fareham finally had their first shot on the hour when Deans keeper Lyall Beazley’s mis-kick gave Sam Knight a sight of goal, but the Reds frontman was unable to put the ball goalwards with an open net at his mercy.
The visitors were on the scoresheet shortly after, though, when a superb 30-yard volley from George Davis flew into top corner.
Horndean looked to instantly regain their four-goal advantage but Paxton’s whipped cross evaded both Austin and Harry Potter.
The hosts did get a fifth with 10 minutes to play, however.
An audacious Lewis Stockford free-kick, rifled into the top corner from the angle of the box, put the seal on the win – to the delight and surprise of the Deans’ bench.
– TIM BIRKBECK