Infinity’s treble dream ended by stunning first half Colden Common performance in HPL Cup semi-final
Infinity’s treble dream was ended by a stunning first half Colden Common performance in the semi-final of the Hampshire Premier League Cup.
Common became the first HPL team to beat Danny Thompson’s title favourites in 27 attempts this season - booking a place in the final against Bush Hill following a shock 3-1 success at Locks Heath.
It was a thoroughly deserved victory for Adam Pullinger’s side who dominated the first 45 minutes - scoring all three goals - and defending well when Infinity briefly threatened a comeback in the second period.
Infinity entered the tie having won 19 of their 22 league games this season and four other cup ties against HPL opposition. Not only are they top of the league, but they were aiming to retain both the HPL Cup and the Southampton Intermediate Cup.
But after missing an early penalty, they were simply blown away by a Common side who easily wanted it more than their opponents. Common were faster in possession, quicker to the second balls, and far more dangerous going forward.
It could all have been a different story, though, had Wayne Boud been on the pitch from the start.
The regular Infinity penalty taker was among the subs, though, having just come back from a two-game suspension.
As a result, defender Jamie Wilkinson stepped up to take the 15th minute spot-kick awarded for handball.
Wilkinson’s weak effort was comfortably saved by keeper Jarid Hixon, and within two minutes Common were ahead.
Infinity failed to deal with a cross from Sam Adams and Dave Paskins struck from close range for his 23rd goal of the season.
Paskins turned provider on 32 minutes when his right-wing cross was lashed home by the onrushing Tom Richards, giving keeper Tom Boyle no chance.
Infinity had come from 0-2 down to win the HPL Cup last season, beating Lyndhurst in the final.
But this time their task was made even harder when Common added a third goal just before half-time.
Skipper Richards was again the scorer, his inswinging near post corner being deflected straight in.
Infinity boss Danny Thompson surprised Common by naming 21-goal Andrew Powell and 20-goal Danny Phillips on his bench, alongside 17-goal Boud.
The latter two were introduced at half-time for Callum Parker and Kurt Watts, but Infinity still struggled to create worthwhile chances.
They were handed a lifeline on 66 minutes when they were awarded a second spot-kick for handball and this time Boud confidently sent Hixon the wrong way.
Thompson threw on Powell and went three at the back in a bid for further goals, but Common’s defence held firm.
Indeed, after Infinity’s goal, it was Common who looked more likely to score on the break.
Pullinger led AFC Stoneham out of the Wessex League in 2015, but insisted his goals for Common this term were slightly lower.
‘When I came here at Christmas last season we were fifth bottom,’ said the Pompey fan.
‘This season I was aiming for a couple of cup quarter finals and a top 10 league finish.
‘We’re doing a bit better than I’d hoped for.’
Pullinger said his gameplan included moving 32-goal top scorer Adams from a central striking role to a wider position on the left side.
‘With the pitch being heavy, we played it slightly longer than we would normally do,’ he explained.
‘The plan was to break quickly, getting in behind their defence, and we did that well.’