Suspended pair sidelined again as AFC Portchester chase sixth successive league and cup win
AFC Portchester will again be without three first team squad regulars as they bid for a sixth successive league and cup victory.
Skipper Steve Ramsey missed the midweek Wessex Cup win against Laverstock & Ford after picking up an ankle injury in last Saturday’s Vase win over Romsey.
Jake Raine and Owen Roundell also began suspensions against Laverstock following red cards in the league success at Alton.
Roundell’s three-game ban means he will be available again for next Saturday’s mouthwatering FA Vase trip to Moneyfields (Portchester host New Milton in the Hampshire Senior Cup next Tuesday).
But the Dover Road clash will be the last of Raine’s four-game suspension - the ex-Moneys stalwart has an extra game ban due to the fact it was his second dismissal of the season, having previously seen red against Fareham.
All talk about the Vase tie, though, can wait; first up for the Royals is this Saturday’s home league game with AFC Stoneham.
The Purples will provide tough opponents, having been the only side to beat Horndean in league action this season and the only side to take points off Hamworthy.
In addition, they beat Moneyfields in the FA Cup and drew in the league with a Shaftesbury side fancied by many to do well.
‘It will be a tough game,’ insisted Portchester boss Dave Carter. ‘But we need three points in order to push on - we’re 11th and that’s not good enough.’
Leading the Stoneham attack could be six-goal top scorer Duarte Martins - a regular scorer when Alresford topped the Wessex Premier prior to the first national lockdown - and Callum Laycock, who was at Portchester last season.
The Royals, though, have two in-form strikers of their own - Kieran Roberts and Lee Wort.
Both were on target twice in the 5-2 victory against Laverstock and now have 21 goals to their name in just 18 starts and two sub appearances.
Roberts leads the way with 13 and Wort - twice a Wessex League champion with Sholing - has eight.
‘They’re starting to get a good partnership going,’ said Carter.
‘It does take time. I know people say most of the players were together at Moneyfields, but some only played 10 games or so there.’
One of Carter’s ex-Moneys contingent, defender Tyler Giddings, made his first appearance of 2021/22 for the Royals against Laverstock.
But the likes of Conor Bailey, Tom Dinsmore, Sam Pearce, George Barker and Marley Ridge were either given the night off or included on the bench.
Portchester have belted 20 goals in winning their last five games, but Carter is fully aware they include three home cup wins against Wessex Division 1 opposition – Laverstock, Romsey (4-0) and Infinity (6-0).