Baffins Milton Rovers manager Louis Bell has called for the return of the Portsmouth Senior Cup final to Fratton Park.
That’s after his team began their defence of the trophy with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Horndean at the Kendall Stadium tonight.
Ryan Pennery was the matchwinner, scoring the game’s decisive goal with a well-taken first-half effort to ensure the hosts – who ply their trade in Wessex league division one – upset their premier division visitors.
And Bell is now hopeful his side can repeat last season’s fairytale win, with one major alteration to the script.
He said: ‘We were disappointed last season when the final was switched from Fratton Park to AFC Portchester at the last minute.
‘All of the lads felt hugely let down by not being given the chance for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play at a Football League ground.
‘It is the local trophy and it means a lot to the local players.
‘On the game, I thought we were magnificent against a very good Wessex League premier division side.
‘It was a gutsy local derby and I felt we deserved the victory in the end – the goal we scored was certainly worthy of winning any game.’
Neither side created any clear-cut chances in an evenly-fought opening 15 minutes.
Horndean goalkeeper Tom Price did well to gather an inswinging corner that was creeping in at the near post.
Baffins, it was, though broke the deadlock after 20 minutes with an excellent finish from Pennery.
The striker burst into the area rounded goalkeeper Price and slotted the ball in off the far post.
Home stopper Tony Male prevented an instant equaliser with a low one-handed save to deny Sam Hookey.
As the game opened up, Price was forced to tip a dipping 25-yard volley from Tyler Moret over the top.
Benny Reed almost got in for the Deans at the start of the second half as the visitors upped the ante.
He took the ball around the goalkeeper but the angle proved too tight for him to find the target.
Pennery’s pace continued to cause the visitors problems and he forced Price to push another well struck effort past the near post.
On 56 minutes, it took an excellent one-handed save from Price to prevent Horndean falling further behind.
He was keeping his side in it and produced another outstanding block to keep out a close-range Callum Dart effort.
A series of petty fouls then broke up the rhythm of the game and it turned into a scrappy affair.
Horndean, though, had two good shouts for a penalty turned down in the final minute as they pushed in vain for an equaliser.
Elsewhere, AFC Portchester thrashed Paulsgrove Reserves 6-1 with Tony Easter’s double, Ryan Griscti, Joe Noakes, Alex Baldacchino and Dale Mason doing the damage.
Moneyfields also progressed to the next round, as expected, thumping Portsmouth League side Budd 7-1.
Fareham Town’s Wessex League Cup journey ended, however, as they were beaten 3-2 at New Milton Town.
Baffins Milton Rovers: Male, Yates, Watts, Audin, Cornish, Moret, White, Thomas, Eaves, Pennery, Dart.
Subs: Byrne, Willett, Jordan.
Horndean: Price, Walker, Fancy, Hookey, Heard, Johnson, Maloney Jack, Humble, Reed, Smart, Maloney Josh.
Subs: Smith, Richardson, Taylor, Mann, Birmingham D.