Mob Albion delighted to get Mid-Solent League ‘monkey off our back’ with Father Purcell Cup final win over Meon Milton

Mob Albion boss Alex Bone was delighted his side finally got the ‘monkey off our back’ with victory in the Father Purcell Cup final.

By Simon Carter
Tuesday, 19th April 2022, 4:06 pm

Mob had been the nearly men of the Mid-Solent League since joining ahead of the 2020/21 campaign.

They were beaten in the final of the Purcell Cup by Meon Milton in their first season at Front Lawn, and finished runners-up in the league. Had they beaten Meon at Westleigh Park in a league game - they lost 6-4 after going 2-0 up inside five minutes - they would have won the title.

This season, they would have won the Division 1 title had they beaten Harvest Reserves in a ‘winner-takes-all’ final fixture, but lost 3-2.

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Mob Albion celebrate after winning the Father Purcell Cup. Picture: Sarah Standing

Mob were also defeated 4-2 in the semi-final of the Hampshire FA Vase, by Isle of Wight outfit Pan Community. And they twice lost two-goal leads to crash out of the Billy Hill Cup at the semi-final stage, losing on penalties to Portchester Rovers.

Yesterday, though, they lifted the Purcell Cup with a deserved 3-2 victory over Meon Reserves at Horndean’s Five Heads Park.

‘We didn’t want to end a season where we’d reached three semi-finals without winning anything,’ said Bone. ‘This was a monkey off our back.

‘Absolutely, we should have won the league and we were 3-1 up against Portchester in normal time and 3-1 up in the penalty shoot-out.

Meon Milton (yellow/blue) v Mob Albion Picture: Sarah Standing

‘We were leading Pan 1-0 after being 0-0 at half-time, but they were just younger, fitter and quicker. We didn’t have anything left in the tank.’

Mob would have won the Father Purcell in a canter but for an amazing display by Meon keeper Dec Johnston, who produced a string of great saves.

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‘We were getting a little panicky on the bench,’ said Bone. ‘We were saying ‘is he going to save everything?’

‘We deserved it, to be honest. In fairness to the Meon bench, they said we deserved it.’

Meon had George Pharoah sent off just before half-time for violent conduct, with the score 1-1, but Bone remarked: ‘I don’t think the red card changed anything. We were already dominating before that.

‘I’d say it’s the best we have played since before Christmas. We haven’t been at our best since Christmas - I don’t know whether being in four competitions took its toll.’

Mob’s squad is full of players - mostly in their 30s - who turned out for Bone during his time as a Hampshire Premier League manager at Clanfield.

‘We’re a bunch of friends first and foremost, but we want to win,’ he said. ‘We don’t actively recruit, the only players we’ve signed are ones who used to play for me.

‘We’ll go again next season. We’re just a bunch of mates who enjoy our Saturday afternoons.’