Battling draw keeps Jam Boys in top eight

FC Portchester 1 Whitchurch United 1.

Whitchurch added another away point to the impressive tally with a fine performance at Portchester’s smart Wicor ground writes John Gorman.

They at times dominated proceedings while at others defended stoutly and the end result was fitting for a game played throughout in good spirit.

The Jamboys, already without the suspended Curtis Angell, then lost Tom Pemberton to injury in the pre-match warm-up so James Tennant stepped in and they also welcomed back Luke Walker after he had missed the midweek game through injury.

The home side made the stronger start with Jamie Musselwhite twice bringing the best out of keeper Tom Hindmarsh and a series of crosses severely testing the visiting defence.

Slowly Whitchurch got into the game with Nic Turpin denied by Jon Webb who then clung on to a long range effort from Isaac Sedu. Turpin saw a fierce free-kick superbly tipped over and a clever lob held under the crossbar by the rapidly back pedalling Webb. Portchester could make little headway in the final third while at the other end Scott Hassell’s header from an Alex Pickering free- kick drifted agonisingly the wrong side of the post.

Walker gave way to Tom Lockyer before Webb, on the stroke of half-time, showed why many rate him one of the best in the league, going full length to block a Hassell effort and somehow recovering quickly to turn Shane Locke’s follow up round the post before arching backwards at full stretch to tip Adam Pearson’s header over the bar from the resulting corner.

Portchester made two changes at the break and Ally Brown was forced to head a dangerous cross over his own bar before a clever four man move ended with Musselwhite’s header buried in Hindmarsh’s midriff.

Webb again had to leave his area to deny the hard running Turpin, a Hassell effort was blocked and Pickering got on the end of a Sedu cross but again Webb’s safe hands kept his goal intact. Despite this flurry the home side were enjoying the greater share of possession and it was perhaps against the run of play when Whitchurch broke the deadlock with a quarter of an hour remaining.

Tennant made the initial run down the left and his cross richocheted around before Lock finally jabbed it over the line.

The lead however lasted only four minutes before an equally untidy goal at the other end brought the scores level. A deflected cross looped into the box, Hindmarsh was caught in no mans’ land and Musselwhite got the last touch as the ball squirmed into the corner of the net.

The same player was widewith an effort on the turn and then saw a header held by the keeper before the final whistle left matters all square and both sides with a point.

Whitchurch can be pleased with their performance on a ground where points are not won lightly.

The defence, with the indomitable Pearson at the heart of everything, protected Hindmarsh and gave nothing away while the midfield worked tirelessly at both ends of the pitch ably abetted by the selfless and continued running of Turpin and Lock. A Portchester official commended at the end of the game that Whitchurch were the best side they had seen down there all season – high praise indeed, More from Whitchurch's Hants Senior Cup game at Follands on Tuesday here and in Friday's Advertiser.


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