First Team
Tue 26 Mar 2024
AFC Portchester
First Team
History made as Royals beat Southampton and book Senior Cup final place

History made as Royals beat Southampton and book Senior Cup final place

Graeme Moir30 Mar - 00:18
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AFC Portchester will make their first ever appearance in a Hampshire Senior Cup final after beating Southampton.

A storming second half performance from the history making Royals saw them battle back from trailing 1-0 at half time to celebrating a famous 3-1 victory at the final whistle.

Thirteen may be unlucky for some but it proved to be especially lucky for the home side in this game - that was the number of minutes from when substitute Kane O’Keefe came on until when he headed home his second goal.

This young Southampton side, made up of under-21 and under-18 players from the Championship outfit, had the better of the first half where they comfortably retained possession for long periods.

On five minutes a free kick from the right hand edge of the box by Josh Pitts flew narrowly wide and on 20 minutes Alejandro Gomes almost finished off a flowing move down the right but keeper Charlie Searle dived to his right to divert the shot past the post.

Portchester almost took the lead four minutes later when a free kick was turned back across the box by Josh Benfield from the right and when a Saints defender missed his clearance, the ball rolled on to George Barker but he couldn’t get any power on his shot and it trickled through to keeper Adli Mohammed.

Southampton took the lead on 33 minutes when the Royals got caught trying to bring the ball out of defence. The visitors won possession on the right side of the penalty area and a low ball across the box was converted by Pitts.

The goalscorer had another good chance five minutes later but he fired his shot over the target and at the other end Liam Robinson received the ball in space on the right and looked to get past the last defender but the visiting player stopped his progress with an excellent tackle.

Three minutes before the interval Pitts created another chance by turning his marker on the edge of the box but he put his shot wide.

The Royals turned the cup tie on its head with their strong second half showing and it looked like they had drawn level just two minutes into the second half. A corner from the right was headed towards goal by Ryan Woodford and was helped on its way by Issiaga Kaba. The referee initially thought the ball had crossed the line and gave the goal but reversed his decision after consulting with his linesman.

Southampton were still dangerous on the counter attack and on 50 minutes Josh Lett was played through on the right side of the box and Charlie Searle had to stick out a leg to prevent his shot sneaking inside the near post.

However, the Royals were back on level terms on 54 minutes when Harrison Brook was sent tumbling over as he chased a ball into the box. He picked himself up and then dispatched the penalty low and hard into the net.

The Royals were now on top and four minutes later James Cowan sailed past two Southampton players before hitting a shot that went across the goal but wide of the far post.

On 64 minutes Benfield and Brook combined to get clear down the left and the ball across the face of goal had two home players running in to try and tap it home but a defender managed to flick it clear of danger.

O’Keefe was introduced on 67 minutes and five minutes later he put the home side in front. Charlie Williamson sent in a cross from the right which was flicked on into the path of the substitute and Mohammed was unable to prevent his header looping into the back of the net.

On 77 minutes a long ball forward found Robinson and he had the time to pick out Brook with his pass but the striker’s first time shot went wide.

The Royals booked their trip to Aldershot Town on May 10 to face AFC Totton in the final with ten minutes remaining. A free kick from the left touchline was floated into the penalty area and O’Keefe out jumped everybody to flick his header into the net.

With five minutes remaining Southampton had one last chance when substitute Sufianu Sillah Dibaga beat his marker but his low shot was saved by Charlie Searle at his near post.

Match details

Match date

Tue 26 Mar 2024




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