Romsey Men’s 1st XI 3 – 5 City of Portsmouth Men’s 1st XI

Despite putting in a competitive performance, Romsey again missed out on points as they were outplayed in key areas in an entertaining game. The game began disastrously with the first play of the game as an attempt to pass out from back was picked off by a flat Portsmouth stick – the visitors won a penalty corner from the turnover and converted it with a deflection when the defensive post man failed to cut out the pass.

Soon enough the visitors were two ahead, as Romsey played themselves into trouble from a 16-yard hit and when a striker was left unmarked directly in front of goal as a cross came in, he anticipated the ‘keeper’s dive and lifted the ball into the net. Romsey got themselves back in the game after exchanging passes around the edge of the area before working the ball to Harry Goodchild who found Neil Strong for a simple finish.

The home side then levelled matters as the hard work of Lewis Birch pressured the Portsmouth defence into conceding possession, before he fired a fierce ball into the area which Strong did well to trap and finish. The flurry of goals continued and Portsmouth were back in front as they again deflected in a cross after getting in down the Romsey right.

After halftime Romsey frequently enjoyed good field positions as they dominated in midfield, with man of the match Jack Murray particularly effective. However Romsey were largely toothless in the final third of the pitch with the home side creating few shooting opportunities and failing to win penalty corners as Portsmouth were relatively comfortable defending deep in large numbers.

Eventually the visitors showed Romsey how to finish as they made another quick attack after turning the ball over and scored with a reverse stick deflection at the back post, and then a fifth goal made sure of the points through a low flick from a penalty corner.

Romsey got a consolation goal when Ben Mullan drove into the top of the ‘D’ then slipped the ball left to Birch who swept the ball first time through the goalkeeper’s legs. Results elsewhere did at least go in Romsey’s favour and February will be a key month if they are to have any chance of avoiding relegation, with all four fixtures appearing decent opportunities to pick up points, starting with next week’s home fixture against Southampton Uni 1s.

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