Fareham in dogfight danger after New Forest ‘disaster’

Wayne Boud. Picture: Allan Hutchings (13950-139)
Wayne Boud. Picture: Allan Hutchings (13950-139)
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Fareham Town are looking over their shoulder at the bottom of the Wessex League premier division after crashing to a 4-0 defeat at Verwood Town.

The Reds have a six-point cushion above the bottom two with games in hand but manager Steve Stone faces a big task in avoiding another relegation dogfight.

Last season the club only escaped the drop by winning at Andover Town on the final day of the season.

Stone accepts it will be every bit as tight again this time around.

Their cause wasn’t helped in the New Forest by having two players went off.

Marley Ridge was dismissed for two bookable offences and Wayne Boud followed him for violent conduct.

‘It was a bit of a disaster,’ said Stone.

‘Marley was a bit unfortunate but there is no excuse for our other player.

‘I didn’t think the final scoreline was a fair reflection of the game.

‘We tried to play football but Verwood went direct and were far more clinical.

‘We have a lot of youngsters in our team and they have not got the experience of being in this situation before.’

United Services had their division one promotion hopes dented by a 2-0 defeat at league leaders Portland United.

Sailors boss Bob Brady was disappointed his team were nowhere near at their best for such a big game.

‘We have not played for over a month and it showed,’ he said.

‘The conditions were not easy – on top of a hill with the wind blowing a gale – and we didn’t cope with it very well.

‘Technically and individually we are every bit as good as Portland but we just didn’t show it.

‘It was frustrating because we were only trailing by one goal at the break.

‘In the second half, though, we couldn’t step it up and Portland deserved to win the game.’

The visitors fell behind to a scruffy goal and their fate was sealed on 70 minutes when they failed to clear a corner.

Alhough it was a blow to the Sailors’ promotion ambitions, Brady believes his team are still in the mix.

‘We are still third in the table and will be playing three times a week for the rest of the season,’ said the manager.

‘Although we were not very good on Saturday, we are not a bad side.

‘If we are going to challenge, though, it is vital we restore some belief in our ability.’