Portchester pinned back by Hamworthy

Simon Woods thought his late strike had earned Portchester three points
Simon Woods thought his late strike had earned Portchester three points
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Newcomers AFC Portchester were just seconds away from earning themselves a dream start in the Wessex League premier division.

Leading 3-2 against Hamworthy and with time virtually up, last season’s division one runners-up looked on course to pick up maximum points from their top-flight opener.

That was until the visitors profited from a gap in the home to defence to snatch a point at Wicor Rec.

Manager Glenn Bridgman was disappointed not to collect a win from the opening game of the season.

However, he was pleased with how his side played against their more experienced opponents.

‘It wasn’t the result the lads deserved but sometimes these things happen and we just have to get on with it,’ said Bridgman.

‘From where I stood, we played some very good football.

‘Our goals came from moves that opened up Hamworthy’s defence, while all three of their goals came from set pieces, which is something we need to make sure we deal with far better in future matches.

‘Hopefully, though, we can put things right and make sure we get to grips with similar situations should they arise tomorrow night when we play Alresford.’

From the start, the tough-tackling Dorset visitors struggled to contain the pace of Liam Horstead.

And it came as no surprise when both he and striker Simon Woods went close to an opener.

But the patient home fans did not have long to wait before Portchester took the lead. Woods won a challenge with Hamworthy keeper Shane Murphy and, as the ball broke loose, Horstead steered it in to an empty net from the edge of the area.

Slowly Hamworthy came back into the reckoning and after Sam Pekun had hit the crossbar, striker Liam Currell forced home an equaliser.

Defender Steve Walker then out-jumped the Portchester rearguard to give his side the advantage going into the interval.

The early stages of the second half also belonged to Hamworthy.

But for a couple of splendid saves by Portchester keeper Karl Watson, Walker and Greg Horlock would have added more goals.

Then Watson’s efforts were rewarded at the other end, when Woods created an opening for Kev Pottage to blast home an equaliser from close range.

As fans began to head for the exits happy that Portchester had earned themselves a well-deserved point, former Pompey and Dunfermline striker Horstead set up Woods to fire home what appeared to be the match-winning goal.

Sadly, it wasn’t to be.

Hamworthy brought Jordan Basing off the subs’ bench deep into injury-time and, with his very first touch, he got on the end of a cross to turn the ball into the Portchester net for a last-gasp equaliser.

AFC Portchester: Watson, Bichard, Cresswell, Howe, Audin, Page, Horstead, Pottage, Boam, Woods, Tickle. Substitutes: Clark, Blackmore, Pople, Farley, Sweeney

Hamworthy United: Murphy, Seal, Staines, Horlock, Walker, Murray, Corey, Halloran, Currell, Pekun, Cannie. Substitutes: Clements, Lawrence, Basing