Top scorer Josh Benfield the hero as 10-man Fareham Town leave it late to see off Bashley

A stoppage-time strike helped Fareham Town return to winning ways in the Wessex League Premier Division with a dramatic 2-1 success against Bashley at Cams Alders.

Sunday, 1st December 2019, 2:42 pm
Updated Sunday, 1st December 2019, 4:04 pm
Words are exchanged between Fareham and Bashley players. Picture: Vernon Nash (301119-027)

Top scorer Josh Benfield pulled the game out of the fire for the Reds, who played most of the second half with 10 men.

First, they had Curt Robbins sin-binned for dissent and just after he had returned to action, Dan Clasby was sent off.

Reds manager Pete Stiles was relieved to pick up maximum points.

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Josh Benfield got Fareham's winner against Bashley. Picture: Vernon Nash (301119-030)

‘Once Bashley equalised with a couple of minutes to go, I thought we might lose,’ admitted Stiles.

‘They had the momentum but we dug deep and caught them at the death.

‘Every time we win, though, it doesn't seem to move us far up the league.

‘But it is so tight we still only need a couple of wins to get us near the top two.’

Gary Austin celebrates his goal. Picture: Vernon Nash (301119-020)

The hosts created the best of the early chances, Jack Breed sent a far post header straight at Dan Kempson and the latter also turned an Ethan Jones shot over the bar.

After Bash had hit the woodwork, Kempson kept out a Gary Austin piledriver before the experienced striker put his team in front with a composed finish.

The game became a physical battle and a little fractious from that point.

Clasby received a straight red for a poor challenge and Fareham came under increasing pressure.

Fareham Town celebrate a goal in the win over Bashley. Picture: Vernon Nash (301119-021)

Bashley equalised in the 88th-minute through Harry Bunce but then made the mistake of committing too many players forward in a search of a winner.

Fareham caught them on the break and Benfield fired his 11th goal of the campaign just inside the far post.

Stiles revealed the former Liss man is attracting a lot of attention since moving from Paulsgrove.

‘He has scored 11 goals in just seven or eight games,’ said Stiles.

‘Other clubs are taking an interest, but we intend to keep hold of him.

‘The lad is quick and knows where the goal is.

‘He and Luke Slade are a right handful for opposition defences.

‘We are not short of options up front because we also have Austin and Simon Woods.’

Horndean warmed up for Tuesday’s league visit to Fareham by cruising to a 4-1 home victory against Bournemouth Poppies.

The game was virtually over as a contest by half time as the home side established a three-goal lead.

Boss Michael Birmingham said: ‘We did most of the work in the first half and could have scored more goals.

‘After the interval it was a case of being sensible.

‘We wanted to see the game out and make sure that we didn't pick up any injuries.’

Former Pompey man Jack Maloney put Horndean ahead, curling the ball into the bottom corner with the outside of his boot after linking up well with Bobby Scott.

Alfie Lis grabbed a brace and Scott completed the scoring in the second half, rolling the ball into the empty net after outwitting the goalkeeper.

It was his 15th league and cup goal of the season.

The game between Baffins Milton Rovers and AFC Portchester was postponed owing to a waterlogged pitch at The PMC Stadium.