Written by Carlo Simone (@CSimoneJourno)
Bournemouth Poppies came out on top in an entertaining six-goal encounter with high-flying AFC Portchester.
After a Steve Flynn effort had kept the fourth-placed Poppies level at half time, the striker got two more, alongside a River Smith strike, to help ensure a 4-2 victory.
It was AFC Portchester who had the most meaningful chance of the fixture, as their number 11 did well to collect a long ball forward, only to hit his effort straight at Sam Jones.
Jones was then unfortunately at fault for the opening goal, in an otherwise solid display, as Matt Simms’ long-range strike was spilled over the line.
However, Bournemouth responded to this setback perfectly, as just a minute later Steve Flynn headed smartly past the AFC Portchester goalkeeper from a weighted cross.
Both sides then fashioned several promising chances throughout the rest of the half.
Firstly, Flynn missed an opportunity to get his second, after hitting his effort well over after the ball was pulled back to him just inside the penalty area. Then captain Ron Frost did well to turn his man before seeing his shot trickle wide.
The Royals were still a threat though, as a cross from the left-hand side was agonisingly close to reaching their striker in the penalty area.
Frost then attempted another shot from range with a free-kick that hit the side-netting, before Portchester flashed a free-kick of their own wide.
That finished up the chances for the first half, but the tempo was ramped up in the beginning of the second half.
Jones was called into action in the 51st minute to superbly deny the Portchester number 7 who had cut inside and released a fierce strike,
The Poppies then took the lead for the first time just six minutes later, as Flynn nodded in a header from a long Ron Frost throw-in.
However, like in the first half, the team that took the lead were pegged back almost instantly.
The ball had fallen to Tuson-Firth on the edge of the area, who hit a thunderous volley past Jones to restore parity.
The game then took another twist just three minutes later, as after a Bournemouth corner had been cleared, the ball was lofted back into the box for River Smith to tap home.
There was no quick goal to follow that crazy four minutes, although Dom Falco fizzed in a cross to Flynn which was slightly behind the striker, so he was unable to connect with it properly.
AFC Portchester peppered the Bournemouth goal with many free-kicks in an attempt to equalise again, to no avail as the Poppies defended resolutely.
Flynn almost turned provider, as his header played in River Smith, but the goalkeeper came out quickly to block the effort.
Flynn wasn’t to be denied his hat-trick though and he took it in some style.
Ron Frost headed a ball forward on the halfway line which Flynn ran on to. He then brilliantly held off the defender and placed it past the goalkeeper to finish the game as a contest.
The final whistle blew a few minutes later, and Bournemouth could reflect on another impressive display.