Moneyfields retain Portsmouth Senior Cup after penalty shoot-out victory over Baffins Milton Rovers at Fratton Park
Moneyfields kept their nerve to retain the Portsmouth Senior Cup following a penalty shoot-out against Baffins Milton Rovers at Fratton Park tonight.
Marley Ridge converted the winning spot-kick to give his side a 6-5 victory after Baffins had forced penalties with the last kick of normal time.
Moneys were within seconds of the trophy thanks to talisman Steve Hutchings’ superb first half lob.
But there was late drama as the clock ticked towards the end of the four added minutes of play in the second period.
Referee Rob Ablitt stunned Moneys when he pointed to the spot after Curt Da Costa had bundled over Callum Dart in front of a Fratton End containing fans for only the third time since early March 2020.
Tommy Scutt made no mistake from 12 yards, confidently burying his spot-kick past Steve Mowthorpe.
Shortly after, Scutt was again putting the ball on the spot as he was first nominated taker in the shoot-out. Again he scored, with Hutchings comfortably levelling.
James Cowan’s effort went in off the bar and, though Baffins keeper Charlie Searle went the right way, he couldn’t keep out Connor Hoare’s effort for 2-2.
Charlie Williamson was first to miss, sending his penalty high and wide into the Fratton End. But the scores remained level when Searle stopped Conor Bailey’s spot-kick.
Rudi Blankson and Charlie Osbourne converted for Baffins either side of Joe Briggs finding the net. That left Ed Sanders having to score Moneys’ fifth effort, which he did with ease.
Into sudden death and Billy Connor gave Baffins the advantage once more. The pressure was building on young Danny Burroughs in reply, but he rolled in his spot-kick with a nonchalance that defied his age.
Mowthorpe then produced his first save, beating out Dale Mason’s penalty.
The scene was now clear for Ridge to step up and fire home the spot-kick that saw Moneys retain the trophy - 731 days after they had hammered Paulsgrove at Fratton Park to win it previously!
Though Baffins had left it incredibly late to grab a draw in normal time, they had certainly deserved it.
On the balance of play, in terms of possession and chances created, a draw was easily a fair result.
Indeed, it was the Wessex Premier Leaguers who carved out the better chances before Hutchings bagged his 231st goal in Moneys colours.
Neither side had entered the final with a great deal of competitive action to their name. Moneys had played just once since early December, their 3-1 PSC semi-final win against Fareham last month, while Baffins had played just two friendlies since their last Wessex League game at Portchester on December 15.
Baffins handed a debut to ex-Horndean left-back Fuzz Kanjanda and, due to a shortage of centre halves, partnered striker Rudi Blankson with Josh Dean at the heart of defence.
Moneys fielded 10 of the team that had started against Fareham, with Ridge - in for Fred Penfold - their sole change.
In front of an 831 crowd, easily a record for a PSC final, Baffins could have been two goals up inside the opening 11 minutes.
Blankson was afforded a free header from a second minute corner, but didn’t even get his effort on target. Then a sloppy pass from Burroughs was cut out by ex-Moneys striker Miles Everett, who threaded a lovely through ball into Blu Boam’s path - only for Mowthorpe to spread himself and save the shot.
Moneys’ main attacking outlet was a long ball up front to Hutchings, and it was the captain who gave them the lead three minutes before half-time.
Sanders launched a long pass forward which Burroughs flicked on and, in the blink of an eye, Hutchings produced an opportunist finish - a lovely lob over the standed Searle from the edge of the penalty area.
Assistant boss Danny Thompson was in charge of Baffins with manager Shaun Wilkinson serving a touchline suspension.
His half-time words obviously had an effect as Rovers started the second half well.
After Scutt’s 25-yarder had sailed well wide, a James Cowan free-kick was deflected off the wall for a corner. From the flag-kick, Callum Dart curled an effort just wide from 18 yards.
Baffins had a penalty appeal for handball waved away before Moneys gradually found their feet as an attacking force.
Sub Penfold ran from central midfield before unleashing a 25-yard shot that wasn’t too far away on 72 minutes.
Shortly after, Moneys were inches away from doubling their lead when Hoare fired a low shot against the base of Searle’s left-hand post.
Dart jinked his way into a dangerous position in the Moneys area, but chose to pass instead of shooting, while Hutchings scooped a 12-yard shot over the bar at the other end.
As the fourth official held up the board stating an extra four minutes, Baffins won a corner - only to waste it, hitting the first Moneys defender. Then they had a free-kick, and failed to even get it into the penalty area.
But Da Costa’s clumsy foul on Dart gave Baffins the lifeline their overall performance had merited.
Way back in October 2019, many months before we’d heard of Covid-19, Baffins began that season’s PSC campaign against Hampshire Premier Leaguers Infinity. After a late leveller, they eventually won on penalties.
The Infinity boss that night, Thompson, saw Baffins’ campaign end the same way it had begun. For the stand-in boss, therefore, it was two penalty losses in the same competition - albeit 509 days apart!
Baffins: Searle, Williamson, Kanjanda (Osbourne, 82), Dean, Blankson, Burgess, Everett (Connor, 77), Cowan, Scutt, Boam (Mason, 80), Dart
Moneyfields: Mowthorpe, Giddings (Knight, 57), Bailey, Sanders, Da Costa, Burroughs, Briggs, Ridge, Hoare, Hutchings, Haitham (Penfold, 61).