US Portsmouth survive first half red card to maintain 100 per cent Wessex League home record
US Portsmouth survived a first half red card to maintain the Wessex League’s only remaining 100 per cent home record.
The hosts were reduced to 10 men around the 25-minute mark of the Victory Stadium encounter with Romsey when Harry Birmingham was sent off for a tackle from behind.
Undaunted, US still recorded a stunning 5-3 win to remain a point behind Wessex Division 1 leaders Downton and Hythe & Dibden.
Indeed, when the top two have three points taken off when Pewsey Vale’s record is expunged, US will take over pole position.
US have now won all six home league games in 2019/20 - belting 26 goals in the process.
‘We were excellent,’ purred boss Glenn Turnbull. ‘Even though we played 65 minutes with 10 men we could have had a lot more goals.
‘The camaraderie of the lads is great - they were all out together on Saturday night celebrating Dan Sibley’s birthday, it’s brilliant to see.’
Turnbull brought striker Tom Jeffes back into a three-man central defensive unit following Birrmingham’s red card, and deployed Dec Seiden up front on his own in a 5-3-1 formation.
It was only 1-0 at half-time - Tom Cain netting with a delightful chip - but the second half brought a flurry of goals.
Seiden converted a penalty - after he had been fouled - and Elliott Turnbull made it 3-0 after the Romsey keeper couldn’t hold a James Franklyn shot.
After the visitors had pulled one back, dual-signed Moneyfields striker George Root headed in a fourth before a quick Geoff Dunn double made it 4-3.
Franklyn calmed the nerves, though, with his 13th goal from 16 league and cup starts this term.
‘I imagine it was a great game to watch,’ said Turnbull. ‘But it wasn’t very good for the heart!’
US handed a debut to Harry Bedford, signed in the week from divisional 1 rivals Petersfield Town.
Following next weekend’s trip to face East Cowes Victoria, US then welcome title rivals Downton to Portsmouth on December 7.
A Matt Low goal earned Petersfield a 1-1 draw at AFC Fawley.
US Portsmouth’s home Wessex League record 2019/20
Totton & Eling W 4-1 (Jeffes 2, Ripiner, Sibley)
Fawley W 5-2 (Sibley 2, Cass, Franklyn, Birmingham)
Folland W 5-0 (Franklyn, Ripiner, Turnbull, Cain, Jeffes)
Whitchurch W 4-2 (Seiden, Ripiner, Franklyn, Chandler)
Bemerton W 3-0 (Franklyn 3)
Romsey W 5-3 (Cain, Seiden, Root, Turnbull, Franklyn)