Fast start for Horndean forward with debut hat-trick as Portchester suffer derby pain

Horndean enjoyed their derby day against AFC Portchester. Picture: Duncan Shepherd
Horndean enjoyed their derby day against AFC Portchester. Picture: Duncan Shepherd
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It was a tale of two debuts as Horndean thrashed AFC Portchester 6-0 in their Wessex League premier division derby at Five Heads Park.

Home striker Sean McMonagle celebrated his first senior start by grabbing a hat-trick.

In contrast Royals defender Craig Hardy, making his debut after signing from Fareham Town, was sent off after 10 minutes for a reckless tackle.

Horndean showed little mercy with Alfie Lis adding two goals and Jack Maloney firing home from the penalty spot.

Home manager Michael Birmingham felt his team were dominant and would have won without the sending off.

He said: ‘It is a great result for us and a good performance.

‘We felt Portchester had a weakness and we exploited it.

‘At times we were ruthless and put them to the sword.

‘I was worried about whether we could recover their energy levels after a tough game against AFC Bournemouth in midweek.

‘In the end we exceeded them and the players deserve all the plaudits.’

The Royals had no answer to Portsmouth University student McMonagle.

He was big, strong and finished well.

Birmingham added: ‘Sean has been training with us for a month but we have kept him under wraps.

‘Portchester knew nothing about him.’

For Royals manager Mick Catlin it was an afternoon to forget.

They were in a difficult situation early on but he felt they needed to show more character when under pressure.

He said: ‘It was a disaster from start to finish.

‘Once our centre-half was sent off after 10 minutes it was always going to be an uphill struggle.

‘By the letter of the law the red card was probably the right decision.

‘It was a tackle you expect your defenders to make but anything deemed aggressive nowadays is likely to be punished.

‘After that Horndean stretched us with their pace in wide areas.

‘It was a situation where we needed to show a lot more character than we did.

‘One or two players didn’t turn up.

‘They caught us a couple of times on the break late on to score goals which made it look a lot worse than it actually was.’

The win keeps Horndean in third spot but the Royals slipped to seventh place.