Sweeney treble fires Royals to cup semi-final

Luke Sweeney
Luke Sweeney
AFC Portchester cruised to victory. Picture: Neil Marshall

Frustration for Fareham... Royals cruise through

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Mick Jenkins praised AFC Portchester’s attacking prowess as his side swept past Newport IOW 5-1 to progress to the semi-finals of the Wessex League Cup.

Luke Sweeney was the hat-trick hero at Wicor Rec as the Royals dominated the contest and fully deserved their victory.

Director of Football Jenkins was delighted with the manner of the display.

‘It was a powerful performance and very convincing from our point of view,’ said Jenkins.

‘We created a lot of chances and in the end could have won by a few more.

‘Our attack showed a real sense of purpose and we scored some good goals.

‘Luke Sweeney was our stand-out forward and Newport couldn’t handle his pace and movement up front.

‘Credit must also go to Joe Noakes, Rob Evans and Sammy Igoe who provided the service down the flanks.

‘Once we got our third goal early in the second half there was always only going to be one winner.’

Sweeney struck after 12 minutes, firing home after a long throw from Noakes was knocked down inside the area.

Newport had hardly figured as an attacking force but a series of calamities led to Scott Jones snatching a 34th-minute equaliser.

Craig Hardy restored the home side’s lead with a header from a corner on the stroke of half-time.

Sweeney extended the Royals’ lead 14 minutes into the second half with a good shot on the turn.

The Royals forward went close to completing his hat-trick with a flying header, which brought a good save from the keeper.

Sweeney wasn’t to be denied, however, and his third goal arrived in the 78th minute.

Jamie Musselwhite completed the rout with a superb overhead kick two minutes from time.

Jenkins added: ‘I feel beating a good side like Newport makes a bit of a statement and sets us up nicely for the second half of the season.’

US Portsmouth pushed Wessex Premier giants Winchester City all the way before a late goal dumped the Sailors out of the League Cup 2-1 at Burnaby Road.

–KEVIN RICKETTS