Royals scrap for point as boss battles to lift troops

Louie Castles. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (133091-3)
Louie Castles. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (133091-3)
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AFC Portchester scrapped to take a point in a 1-1 draw with Blackfield & Langley at Wicor Rec.

The Royals crashed out of the Russell-Cotes Cup and Portsmouth Senior Cup in the space of 48 hours in midweek.

And with injuries robbing boss Graham Rix of seven regular first-teamers, their return to Wessex League premier division action was not a successful one.

Louie Castles ensured they salvaged a point after Jack Satterley’s opener, though.

And former Hawks youngster Joe Noakes impressed on his debut, as Rix focused on the positives after the game.

‘I told my lads there were some very good individual performances, which had been a major factor in the way the team fought back to get an equaliser,’ said the boss.

‘I have to pick what I consider to be the strongest team.

‘We are down on numbers and with three matches every week it has taken a toll and left me short of players because of injuries.

‘Joe did a good job in defence on his debut and Louie deserved his goal for the amount of effort he put in over the 90 minutes.

‘Without going on about it, we have been struggling lately.

‘And being knocked out of two cup competitions has left everyone disappointed.

‘But that’s what happens in football at all levels.

‘Now we need to look forward to what is left of the season and push on to finish as high as we can in the league table.’

After more than an hour of battle, Satterley finally opened the scoring when he lifted a shot over the head of keeper Jon Webb.

Webb saved superbly from Craig Feeney before Castles shot home from the edge of the box to equalise.

But after Jack Salter-Vaile had strong appeals for a penalty turned down and Jake Thomson’s dipping free-kick flew just over the bar, Portchester had to be satisfied with a point.

Elsewhere in the premier division, Horndean were beaten 3-0 by Romsey Town.