El Creekio – AFC Portchester 2-5 Fareham Town

It was dubbed the ‘El Creekio’ and in some, unfamiliar ways, it matched up to its somewhat more prestigious Spanish counterpart. This was no top-of-the-table clash, whichever way you twisted either side’s recent form, and the weather was certainly no comparison to what you’d find in Madrid or Barcelona.

But, in entertainment value at the very least, this local, Creekside derby had a lot to offer. Seven goals, some heated tackles and some worryingly feeble defending.

Though the scoreline would suggest so, Fareham weren’t hugely domineering in their display. They threaded through some decent passes and had control of the midfield but, ultimately, some naive Portchester defending made way for an emphatic result.

Fareham began the half shooting towards the netted end of the Wicor Recreation Ground, a cosy, if not elaborate non-league setting, and found themselves on the front foot immediately.

Matt Burt, the towering Fareham central midfielder, connected with a well placed corner in the opening minutes but saw his effort sail over the bar. A string of crosses and set pieces followed but nothing ended up troubling the Portchester goalkeeper.

The early pressure, then, wasn’t telling and the home side soon came into the game. But, despite making their presence felt, Portchester were soon behind. Bryn McKie who, up to this point, had looked off the pace, curled an effort in from the edge of the area. It really should have been saved but, regardless, the away support – who were particularly vociferous – had the early bragging rights.

It wasn’t long before Kieron Lewis added the second with a beautifully timed volley. A minor scramble in the area allowed the ball to sit up perfectly for the defender and he struck the ball home without hesitance. It all seemed over already.

Therefore, it was no surprise when, two minutes later, Fareham had a three goal advantage. Some brilliant work on the right wing from a lively Gary Austin resulted in a tempting ball into the box. So tempting, in fact, that Dale Clarke turned the ball into his own net.

Moments before half time, though, the home side won themselves a lifeline after Blu Boam knocked home from a free-kick.

With their tales up, you would’ve thought Portchester would come out in search for another goal but, in truth, they were only soaking up more Fareham pressure. There were a myriad of through balls, all of which the home defence seemingly couldn’t cope with, and only some dismal finishing was keeping the scoreline at 3-1.

Not that Portchester weren’t creating chances. Two goalmouth scrambles were eventually cleared – one from the line and one off of the post – as Portchester showed that, for all their dismal defending, they were an offensive threat.

But Fareham were, ultimately, showing the home side how it was done and it wasn’t ong before a fourth was added. Mig Dark drove a shot at goal and Tom Winzar, who had come off the bench, reacted quickly to slip the ball through the ‘keeper’s legs.

Portchester showed some style with their second, though, having hit Fareham on a tremendous counter attack. The right wing was seemingly their territory, as captain, George Way, steamed up the pitch. Substitute Jay Ripner finished the move well but it was Fareham who ended up leaving an indelible mark on the match.

After another hefty Portchester challenge, McKie lined up a free kick from outside the area and nestled it perfectly into the top left corner.

5-2 to Fareham, and another feisty Creekside derby to go before the season ends.

Fareham Town hold table-toppers

It was tremendously nervy work at times but Fareham Town held league-leaders Christchurch to a 1-1 draw at Cams Alders on Tuesday night, with the visitors dropping points for only the second time this season.

Christchurch were keen on revenge after their hosts knocked them out in a dramatic FA Cup tie earlier in the campaign and if form was anything to go by, doing so shouldn’t have been an overly difficult task.

Town have looked good this season but Christchurch have been the early pace setters and, for that matter, have set an extremely high target for rivals to meet.

Of their first 12 league games, they have won 10, scoring 35 and conceding only 7 in the process. It has left them top with some quite considerable breathing space.

The opening exchanges suggested something entirely different, however, with Fareham’s Gary Austin in particular causing a number of problems to a static Christchurch back line. When they did decide to press the winger, his abundant pace and nonchalant twists and turns on the ball left them in their wake.

When it mattered most, however, there was no-one in the box to aid his direct, spontaneous bursts into the Christchurch half.

It only made the job easier for Christchurch who, before long, settled into their game plan which appeared to mostly consist of containment. They were still creating their own chances, though, with two opportunities going begging either side of a corner.

Austin then again stretched the visitor’s back four but, after the receiving the ball back from the ever-present Graham Lindsey, had his shot blocked.

It told the tale of a close first half which had little in the way of genuine action.

Half time had its effect though and Christchurch returned keen to exploit their status as table toppers. A free header for Brad McGookin wasn’t converted but Fareham didn’t heed the warning signs and soon fell behind.

Ben Osborne met a drilled cross at the far post and it was now up to the Creeksiders to show some urgency.

Though that urgency never truly materialised, Fareham did look marginally more expansive as the bitterly cold night drew to a close. Some long Danny Thompson throws were causing confusion in the box and there was a sense that, despite their admirable defensive record, the Christchurch defence was somewhat susceptible to a well placed set piece.

And so it proved as Lindsey jumped highest from a 61st minute free kick, bringing the tie back to parity.

It seemed to inspire Fareham but, without anything genuinely penetrative, before long, enthusiasm began to dwindle in the home end and the away side pressed with ever-greater intent.

They could easily have won it in the final few minutes when Dan Thompson – of Christchurch this time – managed to fire a close range volley high and wide of the goal.

Fareham fans, at the opposite end of the pitch, blew a collective sigh of relief and, moments later, the final whistle went on what was a plucky, ungracious but ultimately satisfactory point for both sides.