Horndean and AFC Portchester share honours in top of the table clash in Wessex Premier

By Jack Norris

The Deans had twice been in front courtesy of goals from Jackson and Scutt, however a Brett Pitman double for the Royals meant the points were shared in a 2-2 draw at Five Heads Park last night.

Horndean welcomed high flying AFC Portchester to Five Heads Park for a highly anticipated top of the table clash in the Wessex Premier Division. The two PO rivals went into the fixture both licking their wounds from FA Vase exits over the weekend, with Horndean exiting at the hands of Bexhill Utd and Portchester being dumped out by Phoenix Sports.

It took Horndean just 11 minutes to settle the nerves thanks to Harry Jackson, who ran on to a flick on before surging into the Portchester box, turning past a defender and caressing the ball past Mowthorpe into the top left to give the Deans the upper hand.

Horndean looked on top as the half progressed, as they enjoyed more of the ball and looked to double their lead. They created some half chances but came close shortly after the half hour mark, when Jackson threaded the ball through to Blankson inside the box, who’s effort from a tight angle was put narrowly wide at the far post.

Portchester levelled up proceedings just minutes before the break, as a clumsy challenge from Field earnt the Royals a freekick 25 yards from goal. Up stepped the league’s leading goalscorer Brett Pitman, who’s strike hit the post before inadvertently being turned in by the back Deans ‘keeper Scott, as Portchester got themselves back on level terms going into the break.

Horndean restored their advantage 10 minutes into the second period, after Willett picked out Jackson on the right flank, who ran the ball into the box before cutting back to Tommy Scutt, who found the bottom left with a sublime first time finish. 

Portchester came close to equaling the scoreline quickly after going back behind, as Pitman unleashed a powerful hit from distance, which was saved by Scott, who spilt the ball but managed to recover the loose ball.

The visitors pressed on for an equaliser as the half went on, but struggled to break down the Horndean backline and carve out any clear cut opportunities. Horndean had some near chances of their own to put the game out of the Royals’ reach, with substitute Tommy Tierney twisting and turning into the box and forcing Mowthorpe to tip over, before Willett broke away into space on the counter but failed to convert.

Portchester grabbed their equaliser eight minutes from time, after seizing a loose ball on the right, a cross was smashed home from close range by Brett Pitman, who surpassed 20 goals for the season.

The Royals were on the front foot as the game drew to a close with them on the hunt to snatch a winner, and they had the ball in the net two minutes into stoppage time, however the goal was ruled out as the linesman’s flag was up.

The two sides would have to settle for a point with the scoring shared at 2 a piece, a result which sees Horndean stretch their unbeaten league run to 7 matches, whilst Portchester see their 100% start in the Wessex Premier brought to an end, with the Royals remaining unbeaten in 11 outings.

Photo: Daniel Haswell

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