Ramsey spot on as Royals cut the gap on Wessex League leaders with victory at Cowes Sports

Third-placed AFC Portchester cut the gap at the top of the Wessex Premier League to four points with a 3-1 win at Cowes Sports.

Sunday, 5th January 2020, 3:12 pm
Updated Sunday, 5th January 2020, 5:48 pm
Steve Ramsey, right, now has 14 goals to his name this season after converting two penalties in Portchester's win at Cowes. Picture: Keith Woodland

The Royals also have the advantage of two games in hand on leaders Alresford who lost their huge title race battle to second-placed AFC Stoneham 1-0.

'Other results went our way and it has shaken things up a bit at the top,' said Royals manager Mick Catlin, whose men host Stoneham next weekend.

‘Our youngsters provided appetite and guile (at Cowes) - Jack Barker, Owen Fee and Patrick Hnath all stepped up to the mark.'

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Fee - recalled to the starting XI as Alex Baldacchino was injured - helped give the Royals a perfect start when he spearheaded the visitors’ first attack.

The home full back took his legs away inside the area and Steve Ramsey put the resulting spot-kick into the bottom corner.

Dan Wooden, Jason Parish and Nathan Paxton all missed good chances to extend the lead before the break.

'At half-time I was worried all the missed chances would come back to bite us,' said Catlin.

Fee again proved the architect for the second goal after the break.

Once more he was fouled inside the area and Ramsey converted his second penalty - his 14th league and cup goal of the season.

That has put the midfielder just one strike behind leading marksman Dan Wooden in the race to finish as the Royals’ top scorer.

A third penalty allowed the home side to reduce the arrears but on 61 minutes Hnath restored the Royals’ two-goal lead with his first Wessex League strike.

The 17-year-old sub latched onto a Wooden flick before producing a composed finish.

'We needed someone to go on and make an impact and Pat did just that,' said Catlin.

Scott Hills, meanwhile, netted Stoneham’s only goal at Alresford as the Purples collected a sixth straight Wessex League win.

They have kept five successive clean sheets and are now just a point behind Alresford.

Stoneham are aiming to become the third club in recent times to win the Wessex Premier title 12 months after coming up from Division 1.

But unlike Petersfield and Portland in 2015 and 2017 respectively, they are playing in the top flight for the first time in their history.