Wooden wonder goal helps AFC Portchester record El Creekio derby success at Fareham
A goal of the season contender from Dan Wooden helped ensure El Creekio Wessex Premier bragging rights were shared at Cams Alders.
The AFC Portchester striker hit a stunning first half strike as the Royals avenged a 1-0 home defeat to Fareham last month with a 3-1 success in the return encounter.
There appeared little immediate danger when Wooden took possession around 25 yards out five minutes before half-time. But in an instant he had hammered a glorious strike which arrowed past the diving Declan McCarthy and into the back of the net.
It was his 11th Wessex goal of the season, and almost certainly his finest.
It also put Portchester 2-0 up after Jason Parish’s 10th minute opener.
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That came out of nothing as well, with 17-year-old Patrick Hnath - on only his second Wessex start - showing great pace and determination to get to the byline before crossing low into the six yard box.
Parish slammed his shot against a defender, only for the ball to rebound back off him and into the net.
The hosts’ first half woes continued when right wing-back Tom Settle was forced off after 17 minutes due to injury, ex-Royal Charlie Cooper taking over his position.
No doubt on the receiving end of a half-time rollicking from boss Pete Stiles, Fareham came out a different side in the second half and should have reduced the arrears within 30 seconds. But Royals keeper Brad Snelling was quickly out to save a Josh Benfield shot with his legs.
Garry Moody and Lewis Stockford - the latter a half-time sub for Gary Austin - both went close before Stockford pulled Fareham back into contention in the 63rd minute.
By then, Portchester boss Mick Catlin had been forced into a double change.
First, he lost centre half Ollie Searle to a pulled hamstring at half-time and shortly into the second period Parish hobbled off with a recurrence of the ankle injury he has only just recovered from.
Luke Slade burst through the middle for Fareham, only to be denied by Snelling, while at the other end a great Nathan Paxton pass put Wooden clear on goal, only for McCarthy to save with his leg at the expense of a corner.
If any team looked likely to score again, it was Fareham as they attempted to stretch their winning run to seven games in all competitions.
But it was Portchester who sealed the win 10 minutes from time when ref Tom Berry adjudged Snelling to have committed a foul and awarded a penalty.
Fareham’s Connor Messinbird - previously booked for a foul - was ordered to the sinbin for dissent before Steve Ramsey confidently sent McCarthy the wrong way.