It was back to business for AFC Portchester on Sunday as they hit ten past visitors Gosport Falcons, in a game that was abandoned after worrying scenes where an ambulance was required to support a player who had collapsed. My impressions were the player was ok after treatment on the pitch but regardless it was the right decision to call the tie, player safety is always the priority after the scenes we all witnessed in Copenhagen at the Euros.
Prior to this though we were treated to a goal-fest. Although Portchy, performance-wise, took longer to get into gear than they would like by their trademark high standards, chances were still created from the get go. Laura Streeter must have thought she had put the home side 1-0 up after two minutes, although her header was ruled out for an offside.
The legitimate breaking of the deadlock came about on 17 minutes. A lofted ball from the back by the fans player of the 20-21 season, goalkeeper Roxy Roberts, found teenage talisman, Ella Wilson. Wilson then knock the ball past the defender in the box before passing the ball calmly into the net.
Gosport came back at Portchy with attacks from the right hand side, but an injury to Lillie Thomas and organised defending from the back line kept the visitors at bay.
Portchy almost got their second after 22 minutes. A great cross sailed across goal from the right found Michelle Niven, who was industrious with her runs all afternoon. However she hit her first time volley over from close range.
Nevertheless the net rippled for a second time three minutes later. A fantastic piece of play from new signing from Portsmouth, Eilidh Currie, where a Cruyff turn in the centre of the pitch left the surrounding players for dead. Driving forwards, Currie played a beautifully weighted through ball onto a plate for Wilson, who rounded the keeper to slide the ball in from the angle.
Wanting to make sure she made her mark on the game, Laura Streeter got the third goal on the 35 minute mark. Streeter drove into the box from the right and slapped the ball into the bottom right corner.
Wilson made it four for her hat trick on 40 minutes, a curled effort into the right of the net. Wilson clearly picking up where she left off last season, with her performances earning her managers player of the season.
Most sides might power down at this score line, but it was clear Portchy were still going up the gears – finding their rhythm and settling into a controlling short passing game which could quickly transition into direct attacks down the flacks.
A good passing phase led to Portchy’s fifth on 42 minutes. Captain Lynsey Crewe received the ball at 30 yards out before hitting a peach of a curler into the top right hand corner, giving the diving keeper no chance.
Portchy then managed to take their tally to seven during added time, with Currie grabbing two goals of her own in quick succession. The first came when a low cross from the left by Niven was collected by Currie, where she mercurially drove the ball into the far side of the goal. Two minutes later she had her second from a fantastically whipped free kick from 35 yards, ensuring the game was beyond reach for Falcons before the break.
Three more goals came in the second half. Gosport started the half with a few chances, forcing Roberts to come out of her box to sweep away a loose touch which could of led to a goal.
However, Portchy transitioned the ball back up the field to win a corner. The curled corner then found Crewe in the box, where she dispatched a volley from close range to get her second and Portchy’s 8th of the day.
Portchy then made it 9-0 on 53 minutes. Smart play by ball playing centre back TJ Hewitt put Laura Streeter through on goal, where she confidently finished powerfully past the keeper for her second.
Showing no signs of slowing up despite a wave of substitutions, Portchy hit double figures on 62 minutes. A sprint down the right wing from Shannen Woods put her in on goal, where she then hit her shot too close to the keeper. However, the power in the shot was enough for the ball to ricochet back into the six yard box, where Currie was on hand for her Hat Trick with a tap in.
In the end, this was the final action. As emergency medical attention was needed for the Falcons player and the referee understandably called time on the game. Thoughts certainly go out to the player in question, Portchy now goes into their next match full of confidence with that display.