Stiles gutted as Fareham surrender lead

Bradey Norton, centre. Picture: Habibur Rahman (170125-959)
Bradey Norton, centre. Picture: Habibur Rahman (170125-959)
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Pete Stiles was massively disappointed as Fareham Town let victory slip through their grasp in their 2-2 draw against Verwood Town at Cams Alders.

The Reds held a two-goal lead with 12 minutes remaining but ended up sharing the spoils in the Wessex League premier division relegation battle.

Stiles was adamant his side should have been able to see the game out.

‘It has got to be disappointing not to win after being in such a great position,’ said the Fareham boss.

‘We have to be able to kill teams off in situations like this.

‘I was expecting a bit more and certain players didn’t do it.

‘In the end we paid for a bit of naivity against a team who are a lot better than their league position suggests.

‘Despite not winning there were a lot of positives we can take from the game.

‘It is bound to take a bit of time to gel because we have brought a lot of players in. But we are still unbeaten in three games since taking over and at least the side has stopped the run of defeats.’

Goalkeeper Luke Douglas made a stunning save after four minutes to prevent the Reds from falling behind.

For the first 20 minutes, the home side held the upper hand but struggled to break Verwood down.

Eventually Simon Woods broke the deadlock just before half-time.

A Curt Robbins shot bounced back off the crossbar and Woods reacted quickly to head in the rebound from six yards.

Douglas continued to be busy after the break – making two saves in quick succession.

And Stiles’ side looked set for glory when Bradey Norton increased their lead from the spot on the hour.

Ash Tattersall’s winding run into the box was brought to a halt by a foul and Norton made no mistake with his penalty.

Douglas continued to produce a string of fine saves.

However, on 78 minutes he was beaten by a header from a corner.

And then three minutes later another header – this time from a low cross – found its way past the keeper.

‘It is very tight at the bottom but I am convinced we will be okay,’ added Stiles.

‘I expect to be bringing in another two or three players this week and we will get stronger as we go on.’

The return of Norton – for the first time this season following surgery – is also a big boost for Stiles.

The manager was pleased to see him come through his first 90 minutes unscathed, although admitted he tired towards the end.

Dan Bennett has also signed for the Reds from AFC Portchester.

Stiles believes his arrival will provide some much needed pace at the back.

Fareham Town: Douglas, Szemis, James, Holmes, Fear, Davis, Kimber, Norton, Woods, Robbins, Tattersall. Subs: Ripiner, Roberts, Martin, McCrombie, Maunder