Gosport Borough ended their 27-year wait for the Hampshire Senior Cup in style as they claimed a 3-0 victory over Sholing at Fratton Park.
A first-half penalty from Justin Bennett, a classy free-kick from Adam Wilde on the hour mark and a stoppage-time Matt Paterson strike gave Alex Pike’s side a deserved victory as they capped a fine season with some silverware.
It was no more than Borough deserved for a dominant second-half display, after the first 45 minutes produced some great chances for both sides.
But Borough’s class from two divisions above their opponents eventually told to seal the win.
Borough had an early opportunity when Steve Ramsey burst through on goal but he scuffed his shot under pressure from the defender and the goalkeeper smothered.
But Sholing fired their own warning shot when Nick Watts blasted narrowly over after a counter-attack stretched the Gosport rearguard.
It was Gosport who were given the chance to grab the early lead when Sam Pearce tumbled over in the box under TJ Cuthbertson’s challenge and the referee pointed to the spot.
While it looked a soft penalty, Bennett didn’t need a second invitation and slotted home with ease.
Ramsey went close to extending the lead after a clever throughball from Mike Carter against his former club but the keeper stuck out a hand and made the save at close range.
But Sholing twice went close to finding a leveller in the space of four minutes.
First Marvin McLean tricked his way past Pearce but couldn’t beat Ashmore at his near post.
And then the Borough keeper pulled off a brilliant fingertip stop to deny Alex Sawyer’s rasping drive from 25 yards that was destined for the top corner.
Danny Smith thought he had made it 2-0 but saw his goal disallowed for offside after Wilde’s free-kick caused havoc in the Sholing box.
McLean went close again for the Southampton-based side as his powerful shot was bravely headed away by Pearce in front of Ashmore.
With only a one-goal lead, there was always the possibility of Sholing grabbing something on the break, even though Borough were dominating possession.
But Wilde gave his team some breathing space on the hour mark with a beauty of a free-kick, as he curled home over the defensive wall from 25 yards with a piece of real quality.
Up against the Vanarama Conference South’s meanest defence, there seemed little way back for a tiring Sholing side and if anything, it looked more likely that Borough might extend their lead further.
Substitute Dan Wooden tested the keeper with a low shot that was turned around the post after his pacy run at the heart of the defence. Borough should have put the game to bed with five minutes left as Carter saw his effort headed off the line by Cuthbertson before Paterson fired into the side-netting.
Sholing substitute Tobi Adekunle struck the outside of Ashmore’s post with three minutes left as they sought a foothold to make a late surge.
But those hopes were over when Paterson got a deserved goal, steering home into the bottom corner to cap a perfect night for Borough.
GOSPORT BOROUGH: Ashmore, Forbes, Pearce, Poate, Williams, Smith, Carter, Ramsey (Saez, 61min), Wilde (Wooden, 61min), Paterson, Bennett (Wort, 72min). Subs not used: Robinson, Molyneaux. Att: 988