Baffins Milton Rovers boss Lee Newport accepted it simply wasn’t his side’s day as they slipped to a 2-0 Hampshire League Cup final defeat to AFC Stoneham this afternoon.
Rovers, who began the Privett Park clash as reigning champions, endured a setback before the game had even begun as influential defender Sam Willett limped out in the warm-up with a thigh injury.
We just didn’t seem to turn up and never really got going.Baffins Milton Rovers boss Lee Newport
When the eagerly-anticipated showdown kicked off, Rovers’ injury woes continued as Jake Couzens departed the action in the opening minute with a turned ankle.
By the time Josh Maddison exited the final in the second half as Baffins’ third casualty with a suspected broken ankle, Rovers were trailing 1-0 to a debatable penalty decision.
And in going for broke, the Sailing Centre club, who dominated possession but failed to land a telling blow from their usual array of chances, were hit on the counter-attack to conceded a late sucker punch.
Newport, though, was in no mood for excuses.
He said: ‘We are a bit low with how the game went.
‘We just didn’t seem to turn up and never really got going.
‘When we did, it was in fits and starts.
‘We had a few half-chances in the first half through Shane Cornish and Blu Boam but nothing to really test their goalkeeper.
‘We dominated the second half after changing things around at half-time but their goalkeeper pulled off a great save from our substitute Louis Bell junior and we were guilty of missing a number of chances.
‘We had to press which left ourselves wide open at the back and they took advantage of that to get the game’s decisive goal late on.
‘We didn’t take our chances and they did, so fair play to AFC Stoneham.’
Newport now faces the task of lifting his players ahead of their Hampshire Intermediate Cup final against Hampshire League winners Hamble Club at Totton on Friday (3pm).
He said: ‘We have got to pick ourselves up now and go again Friday.
‘The lads’ heads are down and morale is low but we will pick them up, fill a side and go again against Hamble Club.’
– JEFF MARSHMAN