Moret emerges from the shadows to keep US Portsmouth’s Wessex League Cup dream alive in remarkable fashion

Tyler Moret emerged from the shadows to play a massive role in US Portsmouth reaching the Wessex League Cup final for the first time.

Sunday, 16th May 2021, 4:32 pm
US Portsmouth celebrate after beating Bemerton on penalties to reach the Wessex League Cup for the first time in the club's history. Picture: Martyn White.

The former Baffins Milton Rovers striker - ineligible during USP’s historic FA Vase run - was sent on as a 69th minute sub with his side trailing 2-1 in their home semi-final to Division 1 rivals Bemerton Heath Harlequins.

Immediately, USP were reduced to 10 men with defender Harry Birmingham sent off and a third Bemerton goal on 88 minutes appeared to sentence the hosts to a second cup semi-final loss in eight miserable days.

But Moret, making only his fourth competitive appearance for the hosts, and his first at the Victory Stadium, incredibly struck twice in as many minutes to force a 3-3 draw.

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Tom Jeffes, right, is congratulated after scoring US Portsmouth's winning penalty against Bemerton in the Wessex League Cup semi-final shoot-out. Picture: Victory Stadium.

Moret then converted his side’s second penalty in the 4-2 shoot-out victory that set up a final date with Premier Division Hamworthy United at AFC Portchester’s ground next Saturday.

Moret was due to have started against Bemerton, but was relegated to the bench after missing Thursday training in order to play for Sunday League side Milton Rovers in a Portsmouth & District FA Victory Cup tie in Gosport (where he had also scored twice).

As a result, Andrew Todd was back in the starting XI - but boss Glenn Turnbull now faces a selection dilemma for the final.

Todd had told Turnbull he was finished for the season following the previous week’s Vase loss to Binfield, but later changed his mind.

‘Sweeney (Todd) told me last Saturday that was it, and not to consider him (for the Wessex Cup),’ the manager explained.

‘I was really worried about him on Monday and Tuesday, but he came training (on Tuesday) because he said he wanted a run.

‘Then he phoned me on Wednesday and said he was up for selection again.

‘That gave me a headache as I’d promised Mozzer (Moret) he’d be starting as he hadn’t played in the Vase.

‘Mozzer then phoned me and said Milton Rovers were short on Thursday and he had to play.

‘I said ‘mate, if you play you’re making it really difficult for me.’

‘But he totally understood, and it was one less headache for me because it would have a tough call.’

Prior to his match-saving cameo, Moret’s last competitive appearance for USP had been at New Milton on December 15. That was only his third start, after previously appearing at Newport IoW (where he scored) and Bemerton.

‘He (Moret) has been unfortunate, but he’s been brilliant to have around,’ said Turnbull.

‘He’s always the life and soul of it - he’s been exactly what we wanted.

‘I wanted another centre forward and I asked Dec and Cally if they’d have a word as I knew they played Sunday football together.

‘I phoned up Wilky (Baffins boss Shaun Wilkinson) and he just said ‘you do you want? Callum Dart or Tyler? I said I’d take both, but I’ll have Tyler.

‘He’s a very good player - a proven Wessex Premier player.

‘I knew he’d have his moment, but I must admit I didn’t see it coming (against Bemerton) to be fair!

‘We’ve got 16, 17, 18 good players who can all do a job - that’s why I’ve got so many headaches.

‘I had a few of those on Saturday - do I go with Caino (Tom Cain) or Sonny (Harnett-Balkwill) and do I go with Jordan Pile or Sarge (Harry Sargeant)?

‘It was one of the hardest weeks for selection I’ve had.’

As it was, Pile got the nod to partner Callum Glen in midfield while former Hawks Academy youngster Harnett-Balkwill was on the left side of a defensive three.

Up front, Todd kept his place.

‘It was either Sweeney or Mozza because Dec (Seiden) is our link between Franko (James Franklyn) and the second striker,’ said Turnbull.

‘It’s going to be a tough call between Sweeney and Mozza again for the final, that’s another headache.

‘We brought Sonny in because Caino had come off in four of the previous five games after about 65 minutes.

‘When I talk about rotating midfield, I mean rotating Jordan and Sarge - Cally Glenn usually plays because he gives a bit of flexibility as well.

‘The bench was picked tactically rather than emotionally - Sibbers (Dan Sibley) can play right back, right wing or up front.

‘We had fewer subs than in the Vase games but I was happy with our options.’