SALISBURY Hockey Men's firsts head into the festive break in high spirits.

The Lower Bemerton outfit recorded a much-needed 4-1 victory at home to City of Portsmouth, as they climbed two places into fourth in Hampshire 1.

The hosts controlled the majority of the first half but were continually frustrated by the well-organised Pompey defence.

That was until skipper Andy Renshaw found Tom Morton on the post, who tucked home in the 24th minute.

After the interval, Salisbury continued to dominate, but it was the away side who struck first. A deflection in front of the Salisbury keeper, after a Portsmouth attacker was allowed time and space to shoot, brought the visitors level.

Salisbury hit back almost instantly, Morton found space at the top of the Portsmouth circle and fired low into the corner. Salisbury lifted their game again and, when Portsmouth were reduced to 10 men after a horrible tackle on Renshaw, the home side put the game beyond doubt. Firstly, Renshaw sent a low drag flick by the Pompey keeper to make the score 3-1 and then picked out Dan Vodden who calmly slotted the ball into the back of the goal.

Salisbury continued to create chances and maybe should have been awarded a penalty stroke when Jagjit Marwaha was upended in the circle as he went in search of his first goal of the term.

"It was a much-deserved and much-needed win," Renshaw reflected.

"We had to be patient, but once we started to break them down we probably should have scored six or seven goals.

"We're in a decent position going into the second half of the season and we'll continue to push hard for a top two spot."

They return on Saturday, January 14 at home to Yateley, who are one place below them in the standings.