Louis Bell ‘so proud’ after Steve Hutchings’ penalty double takes Moneyfields into Portsmouth Senior Cup final
Interim manager Louis Bell was bursting with pride as Moneyfields booked their spot in the Portsmouth Senior Cup final.
The holders wrapped up a 3-1 victory over Fareham Town in the delayed 2019-20 season semi-final of the competition to edge a step closer to retaining the silverware.
Steve Hutchings' first half penalty double and Kaleem Haitham's strike just past the half-hour mark was enough to take the hosts through to a second successive final.
There was a much different look to the squad and management team from Moneyfields last competitive fixture on December 5 - the 5-1 home defeat to Truro City in the FA Trophy prior to the curtailment of the Southern League South Division season.
With Dave Carter departing Dover Road for AFC Portchester since then - taking a large number of players with him - it's been left to former Fareham Town and Baffins Milton Rovers boss Bell and Louis Savage to oversee the remainder of the Portsmouth Senior Cup campaign before the arrival of US Portsmouth's Glenn Turnbull as manager.
Regular first teamers Tyler Giddings, Conor Bailey, Curt Da Costa, Joe Briggs, Connor Hoare and Hutchings were the few who had remained in a bid to help Moneys in their quest to retain the trophy they won by beating Paulsgrove 7-1 at Fratton Park almost two years ago now.
And Bell piled praise on those who have stuck around, reserve players who stepped up and the few dual-signed from Chichester City who faced Fareham.
He said: ‘It was a bit of a patched-up side because we’ve lost so many players. But they’ve come in, they’ve trained hard, we’ve worked hard, they’ve worked properly and you can see what they’ve given - to every man they gave everything.
‘They want to play, with any team that I’ve been involved with you must want to play and win.
‘I want to win at everything whether it’s Tiddliwinks, I want to have and endorse that mentality to players.
‘Louis (Savage) is the same as well, he’s come in, and I can’t speak highly enough of them (the players), I’m so proud of them.
'They’ve all deserved their place, they’ve earned it so they keep it. I’m proud, very proud.'
Despite a much different look to Moneyfields from their last outing, one thing remained the same from years gone by - talisman striker Hutchings getting his name on the scoresheet.
The breakthrough came after 13 minutes when Haitham, dual-signed from Chichester, was pulled down in the area by Curt Robbins and Hutchings sent Dan Kempson the wrong way from the spot.
Next Hutchings turned provider, playing Haitham in behind with a pinpoint pass, with the former Pompey youth product slotting past Kempson to double the advantage on 32 minutes.
Pete Stiles' side pulled a goal back a minute into first half stoppage-time as Simon Woods composed himself after rounding keeper Steve Mowthorpe, before pulling back for ex-Dover Road striker Gary Austin to drill home.
There was still time for more first half drama, though, as Moneyfields were awarded a second penalty minutes later.
Hutchings got in behind the visitors, although Fareham were adamant the striker was offside, and he went down under a challenge from Kempson after rounding the Reds' stopper.
The referee pointed to the spot for a second time and, despite Kempson diving the right way this time, Hutchings scored his second penalty.
Fareham were much the better side after the restart but squandered several good openings and failed to really test Mowthorpe as Moneys booked a spot in the PSC final against Baffins Milton Rovers.
The Portsmouth Division FA, organisers of the competition, remain in discussions regarding a date and venue for the final, with it usually taking place at Fratton Park.