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Findlay on target as Stockbridge edge it with US Pompey
Stockbridge 1 US Portsmouth 0.
Stockbridge survived the loss of Matt Freemantle minutes before the kick-off due to work call ups to post their first three points of the new season at the Rec on Saturday.
With Liam Hall, Dan Chapman, Dave Egerton and Ben Thompson all unavailable as well as the long term injured, joint managers Terry Chapman and James Banks threqadbare squad was still too good for the services side who had a player sent off in the dying moments.
Chapman was nevertheless upbeat about the performance although frustrated at the missed chances: “We had loads of chances and eventually took one” he said.
“There was too much tension as we were trying too hard and really wanted the first three points” he added.
In an entertaining match Josh Harfield stood out for the home team and Chris Knight and Gavin Burgess also impressed. In the first few minutes Daryl Phillips tested Pete Houkes in the visitors’ goal as did Dean Higgins a minute later. United Services then got into the game and forced several corners and produced some long range efforts as they put on the pressure. With half an hour gone Houkes did well to push away an effort by Harfield and just before the break Stuart Findlay saw his well struck shot go just over. Stockbridge struck early in the second half when after some good work by Harfield he slipped a ball through to Findlay who cleverly chipped home. Higgins fired over just before the hour while at the other end United Services hit the bar. With 15 minutes left Houkes brought off a brilliant save to deny Stockbridge’s new signing Ali Badcock from extending the lead. With time running out the visitors went close but Stockbridge held on to secure the three points.
Chapman singled out Gavin Burgess for praise: “Gavin has played very little football and he was played out of position at full-back but did a good job for us and Stuart Findlay showed his class again.
“It was pleasing and we will build on it. We are at Tadley on Saturday and hope to have most of the absentees back in contention for a place.”
Dan Bapty, Ross Lewis and Ben Kneller are all close to fitness having all suffered lengthy injury spells.