AFC Portchester and US Portsmouth grouped together in Hampshire Invitation Cup tournament - but Moneyfields withdraw

AFC Portchester and US Portsmouth will face each other twice in a few weeks next month.

Tuesday, 30th March 2021, 8:44 am
US Portsmouth and AFC Portchester in FA Vase action last October. The teams are due to meet twice more in the next few weeks. Pic: Martyn White.

Firstly, they meet at The Crest Finance Stadium in a friendly on Saturday, April 10 - a game arranged mainly to give US match practice ahead of their big FA Vase tie with Christchurch the following weekend.

The Royals and US will meet each other again shortly after as they have been paired together in one of four Hampshire Invitation Cup groups.

Twenty clubs from across the Hampshire FA region - who play in five different divisions - have entered.

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Portchester and US are in an all-Wessex group alongside Petersfield, Folland and Hamble Club.

Elsewhere, there are three Southern League clubs - Hartley Wintney, Totton and Winchester - as well as Cove, who play in the Combined Counties League.

Out of 39 Wessex League clubs, only 16 have entered the cup, which will see group games played between April 12 and May 1. The fixtures will be announced towards the end of this week.

After the group stage the competition will split into two knockout groups with the top two in each group going through to the main cup tournament.

The remaining teams will take part in a supplementary cup.

Group 1: AFC Portchester, US Portsmouth, Petersfield, Folland Sports, Hamble Club.

Group 2: AFC Totton, East Cowes, Fawley, Hythe & Dibden, Blackfield & Langley.

Group 3: Winchester City, Bemerton Heath, Brockenhurst, New Milton, Ringwood.

Group 4: Hartley Wintney, Alton, Andover Town, Whitchurch, Cove.

Moneyfields had shown initial interest in taking part in the Invitation Cup, but withdrew prior to yesterday’s deadline for entries.

‘We thought it would be a bit too chaotic what with all the upheaval going on,’ said Moneys chairman Pete Seiden.

‘The players return to training this Thursday and we’re just focussing on the semi-final with Fareham.

‘Glenn isn’t coming until the US Portsmouth season is over and with all the talk of players coming and going we just thought it was best not to do it (enter the cup).’

Moneys are due to host Fareham Town in the semi-final of the much-delayed 2019/20 Portsmouth Senior Cup on April 24.

The winners face Baffins Milton Rovers in a final Seiden would hope is played by the first week of May at the earliest.

There will still be action at Dover Road, though, as Moneyfields Reserves are taking part in the Hampshire Premier League’s Supplementary Cup.

Team captain Jake Knight has been placed in caretaker charge following the recent departure of boss Paul O’Rielly. Replacement Lee Mould, like Turnbull, isn’t taking up his new role until US Portsmouth’s season is over.