‘It wasn’t a lucky 1-0’ – Baffins boss Thompson hails ‘special night’ with Wessex League Cup victory at AFC Portchester

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Baffins Milton Rovers boss Danny Thompson hailed a ‘special night’ as his side ended AFC Portchester’s winning streak.

A second-half goal from Miles Everett gave Rovers a 1-0 Wessex League Cup third round win at the On-Site Group Stadium last night against a club that had rattled off 10 straight league and cup wins.

Rovers even missed a late penalty, Charlie Oakwell’s spot-kick saved by Steve Mowthorpe after Sam Pearce had been sent off for a foul on Joe Johnson.

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Baffins are now unbeaten in eighth league and cup games, winning seven of them and keeping five clean sheets in the process.

Miles Everett, right, scored Baffins' Wessex League Cup winner at AFC Portchester.

Picture: Sarah StandingMiles Everett, right, scored Baffins' Wessex League Cup winner at AFC Portchester.

Picture: Sarah Standing
Miles Everett, right, scored Baffins' Wessex League Cup winner at AFC Portchester. Picture: Sarah Standing

‘We definitely deserved to win,’ said Thompson, whose side are now through to the quarter-finals of a tournament Rovers won in 2018/19. ‘1-0 flattered them, it could have been three or four quite easily. It wasn’t a lucky 1-0.

‘We kept them relatively quiet, I don’t remember Roux (Hardcastle) having to make a decent save.

‘They have good, experienced players who have played at a higher level. We don’t have that, but we’ve got the togetherness and the willingness to grind out a result.

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‘We’re not going to be playing pretty football, we haven’t got that calibre of player - that’s an honest reflection.’

As expected, both managers rotated their squads. Portchester top scorer Brett Pitman started on the bench, alongside Curt Da Costa (who came on for his first appearance since early September) and Steve Ramsey (who came on for his first appearance of the season).

Thompson rested seven-goal strikers Tom Vincent and Alpay Ali, while skipper Jason Parish was injured.

Baffins had to make another change midway through the first half when midfielder Brad Gale was taken off with a fractured patella following a ‘fair challenge’. On came teenager Harvey Wellham.

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The only goal came 17 minutes from time when Everett – once of Portchester – fired in a shot that took a deflection on its way past Mowthorpe.

Thompson was left toasting one one of the best wins of his managerial career, and Baffins’ third eyebrow-raising win of the campaign after beating Horndean 3-0 in the FA Cup and Brockenhurst 6-1 away in the league.

‘Credit to the lads, we fully deserved to win all those games,’ he stated. ‘The Horndean one was pretty special, being the FA Cup and them having a lot of our former players.

‘I remember when I was at Gosport Borough we got a point at Kings Langley, that was pretty special for me. But this (beating Portchester) was a special night.

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‘It’s going better than I expected. I’m not making excuses but I had to rebuild virtually the whole squad in the summer.

‘If you’d said to me back then that we’d have beaten Horndean in the FA Cup, be eighth in the league and won at Portchester in the League Cup, I’d have said you’re having a laugh.

‘We should be looking for top eight, top six - the players can achieve what they want to achieve if they put their minds to it.

‘I’ve been in the Wessex League most of my career, and I know if you can get that team spirit and be well organised you can beat anyone. I think we’ve got that at Baffins.’

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Portchester boss Dave Carter wasn’t too downhearted by only his side’s second competitive defeat of 2022/23, and their first since August’s FA Cup loss at higher tier Sholing.

‘Rotating the squad is what these cup ties are about,’ he said. ‘Baffins came and parked the bus and tried to catch us on the counter attack.

‘It was a hard game to watch, it wasn’t the best in the world. We had a lot of possession without really creating anything.

‘Sometimes it’s good to lose, as you can then get a reaction - you’re not going to be perfect every game.’

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Portchester will look to extend their Wessex Premier winning run into double figures at US Portsmouth this weekend.

Carter is hoping Ryan Wilkins, who suffered a foot injury last night, will be fit for the trip to the Victory Stadium.

Baffins could still be without Parish for their long trek to north Dorset to face Shaftesbury.