Norton rides to rescue as Fareham net crucial win
Bradey Norton helped fire Fareham Town to a crucial 2-1 win over Wessex League premier division drop rivals Bournemouth at Victoria Park.
Norton, in only his second game back after a year out with knee problems, netted both goals to take his tally to three in two.
And the victory saw the Reds leapfrog their hosts into 17th in the table – two points above the relegation zone.
It could have been even better for Norton and Fareham, too.
He missed out on a hat-trick with a second-half failure from the spot.
The 22-year-old is a veteran of the Reds’ last great escape – two seasons ago when a win at Andover on the final day of the season kept them up.
Now he is back to help new manager Pete Stiles plot another route to safety.
‘This situation isn’t new to me and we pulled it off when Matt Parr was manager,’ said Norton.
‘That year it was the togetherness of the squad that did the trick.
‘We put the fact we were in a relegation scrap to one side and focused on winning games.
‘In the end we stayed strong to win our final match and stayed up. I’m convinced it won’t come to that this time.
‘I have known Pete since he managed me in the Portchester youth team.
‘He has come in, started to get us all fitter and there is a very positive mood in the camp.’
On a bobbly, heavy pitch, Fareham worked hard from the start and got their reward with the opening goal after 11 minutes.
A corner fell to Norton, who slipped the ball into the net between the goalkeeper and the near post.
Although the home side got more into the game, the visitors still held their advantage at the break.
Five minutes into the second half, Fareham striker Simon Woods was brought down inside the area.
Norton stepped up and planted his spot-kick into the bottom right-hand corner.
On the hour, the Poppies reduced the deficit with their own spot-kick.
When Woods was brought down again soon afterwards for another penalty, Norton saw his effort saved by the keeper.
That set up a tense finale but as the home side continued to push for an equaliser, Fareham goalkeeper Luke Douglas pulled off a fantastic double-save to secure the points.
‘We went into the game with a winning mentality from the start,’ added Norton.
‘It was a game we knew had to be won.
‘That makes it four games unbeaten since the new manager took over.
‘It is important we maintain this momentum.
‘And we have some more winnable games coming up.
‘This is a huge three points for us and could prove pivotal in our season.’
Fareham Town: Douglas, Davis, Barker, Holmes, James, Martin, Laycock, Norton, Robbins, Tattersall, Woods. Subs: Kimber, McCombie, Ripiner