Locks Heath stage remarkable Hampshire Premier League cup comeback to inflict rare loss on Infinity
Jordan Whiteley struck four goals as 10-man Locks Heath staged a sensational recovery to inflict a rare defeat on Infinity.
Locks had been trailing 3-2 with just a few minutes remaining in the quarter-finals of the Hampshire Premier League’s post-lockdown supplementary cup - yet amazingly won 5-3.
Whiteley completed his hat-trick in the 88th minute and it looked as if the L4 Teamwear Challenge Cup tie was heading to penalties.
But ex-Portchester full-back Simon Stone netted direct from a 25-yard free-kick before Whiteley netted his fourth - and all this after Locks had been reduced to 10 men after 25 minutes when midfielder Chay Dugan was sent off!
Whiteley now has 16 league and cup goals to his name in 2020/21.
Infinity, who had led 2-0 and 3-1, were suffering only their second competitive loss since the start of the 2019/20 season. Their previous defeat was a 3-1 HPL Cup semi-final defeat to Colden Common in February last year.
Jamie White, Junior Kamara and Andy Powell had put Mark Dugan’s Infinity seemingly in control at Hythe & Dibden FC.
‘It was a brilliant game,’ enthused Locks boss Dave Fuge
‘Even at 2-0 down at half-time with 10 men I still felt, bizarrely, that we were in it.
‘We must have had 70 per cent of the possession in the first half but missed chances - they were more clinical than we were.
‘All the way through I felt we were the better side, even with 10 men.
‘At 3-3 I would have settled for penalties, but the players were straight at their (Infinity) throats again.’
Locks now face lower division Silchester next weekend for a place in the May 29 final at Westleigh Park against Bush Hill or Paulsgrove.
A cup final appearance would cap a stunning first season back at the club for Fuge, who was in charge when Locks won the HPL title in 2012/13 with a team containing current US Portsmouth keeper Tom Price and Fareham Town’s Ash Tattersall.
Fuge also guided Locks to runners-up spot the following season when Baffins Milton Rovers lifted the silverware at the first attempt.
Locks were bottom of the HPL Senior Division when 2019/20 was null and voided due to the pandemic.
That relegation scare was the catalyst to sound out Fuge - who was US Portsmouth boss for three seasons before a coaching spell at AFC Stoneham - about returning.
After compiling virtually a totally new squad, they were second behind Bush Hill when this season was paused in mid-December and eventually curtailed in February.
‘I was really pleased at how well we did,’ said Fuge. ‘I would have settled for a place in the top five. We’ve done brilliantly.
‘When the season was curtailed we put it out on social media that we finished runners-up. Some clubs were saying ‘how can you say that, we’ve got games in hand’, but as far as we’re concerned we finished second.’
With Locks’ home ground now given over to cricket, they are planning to host Silchester on AFC Stoneham’s 3G pitch.