‘I still can’t believe we won’ – US Portsmouth boss Turnbull after remarkable finish to Wessex League Cup semi-final
That was the view of US Portsmouth boss Glenn Turnbull this afternoon - almost 24 hours after watching his side come from the brink of defeat to reach the Wessex League Cup final for the first time in the club’s history.
After a ‘really, really hard week’ in the wake of the FA Vase loss to Binfield, USP appeared destined for a second cup semi-final loss when they trailed Bemerton Heath 3-1 with just two minutes left.
But sub Tyler Moret struck twice in a barely believable finale and USP set up a final date with Hamworthy United next Saturday by winning 4-2 on penalties.
‘No, I still can’t believe it, not at all,’ Turnbull confessed to The News this afternoon.
‘I didn’t even celebrate the first (Moret) goal, I just presumed it was a consolation.
‘I couldn’t believe we’d still get another chance, let alone score from it.’
Turnbull admitted his side endured a ‘shocking’ start that could have seen them trail by a couple of goals prior to Jack Chandler’s 41st minute leveller.
Bemerton restored their lead midway through the second half and added an 88th minute third after USP defender Harry Birmingham had been sent off.
Turnbull had resigned himself to finishing his time as manager with a second semi-final defeat.
‘It was a really, really hard week - emotionally more than anything,’ he said of the build-up to Bemerton’s visit.
‘Everyone was a bit low, and I was feeling it too. I was just as gutted, but I had to try and pick everyone up - it was really hard, though.
‘We said all the right things before kick off about not letting it drift away, all the usual cliches.
‘But I felt we were flat - flat in the changing room, flat in the warm-up and flat on the pitch.
‘I said at half-time how it was 1-1 and we were still in the game was beyond me. I told the players ‘you can’t be as bad in the second half - go and win it.’
‘When they got their third I thought that was it, done. I still can’t believe we won.
‘I know I talk about our camaraderie, but there’s more to us than that. But here I think it was our camaraderie and our never-say-die spirit that carried us through.
‘I couldn’t see us scoring one goal, let alone two.’
He added: ‘It’s nice to have a final to bow out in rather than having lost two semi-finals.
‘If it had finished that way it would have been unfortunate. It would have felt really flat
‘It’s nice for the players to be in a cup final as we’re not going to get any medals or a cup for winning promotion as it’s by invite only.
‘It’ll be a nice occasion for the lads.
‘It’s not Wembley, but it will do.’