The University of Portsmouth men’s first team beat league leader St Mary’s 3-1 in a crucial game at Langstone.
The result builds momentum for UPFC and keeps them within two points of the top of the table at this early stage.
UPFC capitalised on two early goals and managed to stay strong through the second half to ensure the result.
The match started quickly with UPFC visibly ready to attack the opposition. Surprisingly, they did not have to wait long for the breakthrough.
Two minutes into the first half and UPFC were ahead. Fullback Hayato Yokota surged over the halfway line and took an audacious shot from 25 yards out. St Mary’s goalkeeper then fumbled the ball, and it slipped underneath him for 1-0.
— UPFC (@PortsmouthUniFC) November 16, 2016
Hayato Yakota’s first half goal
The goal was met by jubilant scenes from players and fans alike and spurred on the home side even more.
At the restart, UPFC continued the momentum and moments later midfielder George Dance’s long range effort was once again parried by the keeper into the path of an arriving Ed James, who slotted the ball away for 2-0.
A fairy-tale first ten minutes for the home side then culminated in the ball being in the back of the net for a third time, but on this occasion there was deemed to be an offside in the build up.
UPFC then relaxed going into the next ten minutes and allowed their heads to drop a little. An inconspicuous free kick then led to the St Mary’s player hitting the post for his effort.
Buoyed on by nearly dropping a goal, captain Harry Markatis then tried to re-energise the team from the restart.
However, the worst was yet to come. Andre Correa took the ball out from the back and surged forward, only to be dispossessed and for St Mary’s to then have a clear run on goal. The opposition striker then chipped goalkeeper Sam Gray to make it 2-1.
The home side seemingly allowed a little fear creep into their lines, with some players holding onto the ball for a bit too long and loosing possession as a result.
With an almost carbon copy repeat of Harry Markatis’s opening week free kick, Michael Carroll saw the last significant chance of the half when his swerving free kick was tipped onto the bar.
At the start of the second half goal scorer Ed James was taken off for Sean McMonagle with UPFC keen to have a similar start to their first half performance.
Nyam McLeod was then taken off for livewire Iheanyi Helix who was raring to get onto the score sheet.
The midfield paring of George Dance and Tom Austin proved to be integral in the second half with both players being strong in attack and defence.
UPFC then made sure of the result when George Dance’s impeccably waited through ball found substitution Helix in the area who then hit home for 3-1.
Elsewhere at Langstone on the day, the seconds team lost to Roehampton 2-1 and the fifths side beat Royal Holloway 4-0.
On the road, the thirds beat New Buckinghamshire seconds 3-1 but both the fourths and sixths men’s sides were hit for seven by St George’s University and University of West London’s men’s sides. Admittedly, these teams were both firsts squads so both sides did well to face up to them.
The result leaves UPFC first fourth in the on five points. The win has allowed them to cut the deficit to the top with leader St Mary’s now only two points ahead, with three teams on six points.
All photos by Kieran Clarke