Moret spot on again as Milton Rovers clinch first-ever City of Portsmouth Sunday League Division 1 title

Tyler Moret completed a memorable weekend by converting the penalty that gave Milton Rovers their first-ever City of Portsmouth Sunday League Division 1 title.

Monday, 17th May 2021, 3:26 pm
Milton Rovers celebrate winning the City of Portsmouth Sunday League Division 1 title after a 2-1 victory over AFC Southdowns at Farlington. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

On Saturday Moret had leapt off the bench to score twice in the closing stages as US Portsmouth hit back from 1-3 down to draw their Wessex League Cup semi-final 3-3 with Bemerton Heath Harlequins.

Moret then confidently tucked away his side’s second spot-kick in the resultant shoot-out which USP won 4-2.

The following morning, he was again spot on with a second half spot-kick that sealed a 2-1 victory over AFC Southdowns at Farlington.

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That was the first of a scheduled double header but, with Milton having picked up the win they needed in the first game, Southdowns conceded the second hour-long fixture.

Milton only reformed this season to play in the Portsmouth League after previously appearing in the Meon Valley Sunday League.

There they won the league in 2011/12, 2015/16 and 2016/17 - also winning the Victory Cup in the last of those seasons.

Now, though, there is a doubt as to whether Milton Rovers will be around to defend their Sunday League title.

Long-serving player Sam Willett said: ‘This might be our last season, we haven’t decided yet.

‘Some of the lads who play Saturdays might not want to play Saturdays and Sundays next season.’

Milton Rovers fielded a strong XI against Southdowns including Ashton Leigh (Bognor Regis), Robbie Taw (Horndean), Moret and Callum Glen (US Portsmouth) and Shane Cornish (Paulsgrove).

The likes of keeper Tony Male, Oliver Watts, George Roy, Stuart Dollery and Willett also played for Milton during their Meon Valley title-winning days.

Leigh has been keeping match-fit playing for Milton with his Bognor season at step 3 of the non-league pyramid having finished in mid-December due to lockdown restrictions.

It was Leigh who gave Milton an interval lead against Southdowns, taking advantage of keeper Ethan Chapman’s hesitation to win the ball and roll it into an empty net.

Leigh, always a huge threat on the right-hand side, went close with a 20-yarder after the restart before Southdowns levelled in a highly-competitive encounter.

Striker Blu Boam - who plays for Baffins Milton in the Wessex League - produced a lovely flick from a cross which gave Male no chance at his near post.

Milton were then reduced to 10 men for a period when Roy was sent to the sin bin.

Southdowns - the 2018/19 Portsmouth Sunday League champions - couldn’t capitalise, though, and on Roy’s return Milton were awarded a penalty when Moret was pushed over. He duly got up to convert his second spot-kick of the weekend.

Boam was one of two Southdown players sin-binned for protesting, and Rovers wasted chances to extend their lead - Leigh’s close-range shot saved by Chapman and Cornish dragging an effort wide - with their numerical advantage.

Taw - playing against Horndean colleagues Sam Hookey and Liam Kimber - also saw a shot blocked after Leigh had teed him up right in front of goal.

Milton, managed by Chris Male, now have another league and cup double in their sights as they are through to the semi-finals of the Portsmouth & District FA Victory Cup.

There they have been drawn against league rivals North End Cosmos, who they have twice beaten 3-0 in recent weeks, with the winners facing Cobden or Jameson Arms in the final at Westleigh Park next month.