Alresford Town snatched an early lead against Kent visitors Phoenix Sports but were eventually beaten 2-1 in a hard fought FA Vase third round tie at shivering Arlebury Park.

Alresford strapped on their skates on the frosty surface and stunned their ten visitors by taking the lead inside 90 seconds.

Harry Draycott created the chance with a pinpoint pass inside which drew former Alresford goalkeeper Steve Phillips out of position and allowed Tom Riddell to race in and fire the Wessex League side ahead.

Phoenix Sports, unbeaten and second in their Southern Counties East League, were being given a rough ride by a lively Alresford side and almost conceded a second goal soon after.

Brockenhurst college student Jack Hoey fired a shot from the left which beat Phillips but was headed off the line by a panicked defender.

Phoenix were having difficulty in getting anything together and were almost caught again by a glancing header by Simon Everett which Phillips saved.

“We’re not at the races and are second best all over the park” screamed Phoenix manager Steve O’Boyle.

His touchline rant clearly had an effect on the Kent side who drew level in the 21st minute.

Harrison Carnegie was beginning to show signs of danger with his electric pace and he left Alresford defender Adam Carick on post before crossing for Yacine Gnahore to equalise with an explosive shot.

Most of the threat was coming from Carnegie down the Phoenix right as the Kent visitors began to impose themselves on the game.

Play was twice held up as a sheepdog strayed on the pitch and was eventually rounded up and red carded.

Two minutes before half time Phoenix, who had been growing in confidence, took the lead with the danger again coming down the right flank.

Again Carnegie was too quick for the Alresford defence and his ball squared back from the right-hand by-line was met by Louis Valencia. Gary Morrison made a partial save but top scorer Ricky Freeman followed up to give Phoenix a 2-1 half time lead.

Alresford almost fell further behind immediately after the re-start and generally found it difficult to regain their earlier ascendancy.

The shivering crowd - fresh from chuckling from the earlier canine intrusion – enjoyed more gallows humour as Camberley referee Jim Paterson was twice hit on the head and had to stop play for repairs.

With 15 minutes left Alresford almost grabbed an equaliser when Everett unleashed a rasping drive – only to be denied by Steve Phillips, his former team mate, who flung himself to his right to make a superb save.