Marty Wallace saluted the resolve of the Royal Navy after they avoided the wooden spoon in the Inter-Services Championship.
The navy battled from behind to deliver a 4-2 success over the Royal Air Force at the Victory Stadium on Wednesday and regained the Cassar Cup in the process.
AFC Portchester striker Andy Todd fired in a second-half double for the hosts, with Danny Earle and Ryan McKechnie also on target.
The victory meant the navy finished second in the Inter-Services Championship, which was won by the British Army.
And Wallace, who is a first-team coach at the Royals, heaped praise on the character displayed by his men.
The boss said: ‘I was really pleased with the result and the resolve of the boys.
‘We went one behind and displayed the character to come back.
‘We managed the game well and scored four fantastic games.
‘Even when the RAF got it back to 3-2, we didn’t sit back and I couldn’t be more pleased.
‘At the start of the game we stood off them a bit and allowed them to play a bit.
‘We made them look a bit better than they were.
‘They gave us their best before we even started. That’s what we said at half-time.
‘When we got on the front and put them under pressure they made mistakes and got the equaliser off the back of that.
‘The momentum then swung our way and we were really composed in the second half in front of goal.’
The navy suffered a heavy defeat to the army at Aldershot’s Recreation Ground last month.
Wallace rued defensive errors in that 7-3 loss and was looking for a response from his side against the RAF.
The manager got exactly what he was looking for as he made changes in his rearguard.
And he was delighted to end the campaign with a piece of silverware.
‘The front four have scored goals all season for us,’ added Wallace.
‘What we have done is left the back door open and conceded a few.
‘It was nice to have a strong defensive performance but the front guys are a real threat and score goals.
‘It has given us the chance to end the season on a high and with a bit of silverware.
‘I couldn’t be more pleased. It puts the army game to bed and I’m over the moon.’
– WILL ROONEY