Petersfield Town manager Connor Hoare praised AFC Portchester’s quality after they beat his Rams side 5-2 at Love Lane on Saturday in the Wessex League Premier Division.

Second-half goals from Oli Davies and Liam Kimber proved to only be a consolation as the Rams found themselves four goals down after 35 minutes.

The visitors took the lead ten minutes in. A through ball into the area was well controlled by George Barker, who held it up and pulled back to the edge of the box for Jim Cowan to strike low into the bottom corner.

Barker scored the second on 20 minutes when Kieran Alcock couldn’t stop his shot on the line. It was 3-0 five minutes later when the ball came off the unfortunate Jack Farrier for an own goal.

The fourth goal arrived after 35 minutes. A corner into a crowded six-yard box was met by the unopposed Izzy Kaba, who nodded past keeper Harry Greenfield.

The visitors were awarded a spot kick after Cowan’s effort struck the outstretched hand of Cam Smith, but Greenfield got down well to deny Lee Wort.

Declan Seiden won the Rams a penalty on 74 minutes, and Davies stepped up to slot home.

The visitors extended their lead in the 83rd minute when Archie Wilcox tapped home.

Davies drove forward in stoppage time, cut inside and played a defence-splitting through ball to Kimber, who slotted into the bottom corner to make it 5-2.

Portchester are strongly fancied to push for promotion, and Hoare was full of praise for their performance against his side.

“They have great quality throughout their whole team,” said Hoare. “They had two chances in 20 minutes and scored both – it shows the level of player they have.”

At 4-0 down the Rams could have dropped their heads, but Hoare was pleased to see his side keep going to the final whistle.

“One thing that is never in question is our character,” said Hoare. “They never give in and always believe there is a way back.

“They take pride in that belief and I’m proud of that.”

Saturday’s defeat followed a 1-0 victory at Fleetlands in the second round of the Wessex League Cup last Tuesday night (October 3). Declan Seiden scored the only goal in stoppage time.

“We were so patient and our quality came through eventually,” said Hoare. “It was a brilliant pass from Tommy Tierney and great movement by Dec.”

Next up for the Rams is a trip to Cowes Sports on Saturday (3pm).

“I expect another physical and hard game,” said Hoare. “We need to be at the top of our game to have a chance of being successful. I believe the boys will want to get back to winning ways.”