Poppies held to frustrating Fareham stalemate

Report from Rob Edwards (@rob_edwards19) at Victoria Park

Bournemouth Poppies missed the chance to record back-back wins in the league after failing to find a way through a stubborn Fareham Town defence in a 0-0 draw at Victoria Park.

The Poppies faced a Fareham side who had lost their last four games in all competitions going into this one.

However, they were the side who went closet in the first half with Fareham frontman Andrea Carrera seeing his shot cannon back off the bar early on.

A rain covered pitch caused difficulties for both sides, but the Poppies still managed to create numerous openings.

Both River Smith and Dominic Falco missed good chances in the second half to give the Poppies the lead on the night.

This was the first time the two sides had met this season, with each enjoying contrasting form going into the game.

The Poppies were looking to build on their 5-1 home win against Bremerton Heath Harlequins last time out, whilst Fareham were looking for their first win since the beginning of January.

It was the Poppies who enjoyed much of the early possession, creating the first clear opening four minutes in when forward Falco received the ball on the edge of the six-yard box, but he could only fire his shot straight at Fareham keeper Declan McCarthy.

Moments later, fine wing play from Fareham’s Carrera allowed him to find space outside the area to unleash a ferocious shot onto the Poppies goal. Poppies keeper Sam Jones was left counting his lucky stars after the shot cannoned back off the bar.

Following early chances for both teams, the game turned scrappy highlighted by the referee brandishing cards to both sides. Fareham’s Carrera receiving one for a late challenge and River Smith for the Poppies after an un-intentional handball in the penalty area.

Despite this, the Poppies started to come on strong before the interval and Falco really should have put them ahead when he was put clean through but failed to keep his shot down with it sailing over the bar.

The visitors perhaps should have taken the lead on the brink of half-time when Lewis Stockford, Fareham’s biggest threat throughout the game, found space in the area but saw his shot skew past the post.

That miss saw the first half come to an end with both sides feeling un-fortunate not to have found the net.

The second half began with the rain continuing to fall, but the Poppies refused to let it dampen their spirits.

They were the side looking more likely to break the deadlock and it didn’t take them long to carve open their first chance following the break.

On 54 minutes, Falco saw his header denied by McCarthy after the Fareham keeper got down well to push it out for a corner.

It was Falco again who perhaps had the best chance of the match when he was put clean through 62 minutes in. With just the keeper to beat, the Poppies man fired his shot straight at the on-rushing McCarthy. Moments later he was given a second bite of the cherry but saw his shot saved at the near post.

Despite the Poppies dominating the play, the Creeksiders continued to look a threat. Once again Stockford threatened to give the away side the lead 75 minutes in, but fine defending meant that Jones in goal wasn’t called upon.

With 80 minutes on the clock, the home side started to crank up the pressure on side sitting 16th in the table.

It began to look increasingly likely that it wouldn’t be the Poppies day, until striker Smith was given the chance to win the game 85 minutes in. However, he like Falco was un-able to beat McCarthy one on one.

A beautiful cross from the left by Poppies number 10 Fawzi Saadi was the home side’s final chance but no-one was able to get on the end of it.

The final whistle brought the end to an absorbing draw where the Poppies will go home disappointed they didn’t manage to find a way past the excellent McCarthy, whilst Fareham will be more than content with the away point they get to take back up the M27.

The Poppies will be hoping for better when they take on local rivals Christchurch this coming Saturday away from home.

Poppies: Jones, Aldhayan, Wensley (Langstone, 80), Spears, Elsom, Frost, Khider (Neronski, 59), Cooper (Cullen, 70), Smith, Saadi, Falco

Unused subs: Ohameje

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