Baffins Milton Rovers are looking to turn the tables on Moneyfields in the re-run of last season’s Portsmouth Senior Cup final at Fratton Park tonight (7.30pm).
The Hampshire Premier League side were well beaten by their Wessex premier opponents in last season’s affair 2-0.
Baffins worked hard and never gave up all through that game, but were outclassed by the Dover Road side.
However, Baffins joint-manager Lee Newport believes they are better equipped this time round and can cause an upset.
‘Last season we were a Portsmouth Senior League team and didn’t even have a proper management structure,’ said Newport.
‘A couple of players managed it but since then Fred Cornish and I have taken the reins.
‘We also moved up into the Hampshire Premier League and added five or six new players to our squad.
‘Moneyfields had five or six first-team players in their side and beat us quite easily.
‘We are looking forward to the re-run and feel we have enough to push them a bit more this time around.’
Baffins will arrive at the final full of confidence after taking the Hampshire Premier League by storm in their first season.
They strolled to the league title, winning by 11 points, and are also in the Premier League Cup final next weekend.
‘We are so proud of what our players have achieved already,’ said Newport.
‘The games came thick and fast towards the end of the season but we just kept ticking off the wins.
‘It has been a massive year for us and the players have been phenomenal for us.’
In contrast, it has been a difficult season for Miles Rutherford and his Moneyfields team.
The Copnor club suffered for an administrative error – failing to get international clearance for striker Steve Hutchings on his return from Australia – which blighted their season.
Moneyfields were also thrown out of the FA Vase, forced to pay back their FA Cup prize money and were deducted six points by the Wessex League.
‘After the season we have had it would be nice to end it by retaining our Portsmouth title,’ said Rutherford.
‘It has been awful, with lots of player unavailability through work and suspensions making it hard to achieve any consistency.
‘We know that it won’t be easy against Baffins because they are a much-improved outfit.
‘They have already beaten some Wessex premier sides to get back into the final.
‘A lot of their players have been with us at one stage or another so we know all about them.
‘Up front, Jason Parish is quick and Dean Harris is strong, with both capable of scoring goals.
‘We are looking forward to taking them on again.’
Moneyfields are without powerful striker Hutchings, who has been handed a three-match ban for racking up a staggering 15 bookings.
There is also a doubt over Jack Lee because of work commitments.
But Rutherford intends to field his strongest side available to end the season on a high.
‘We want to end the season on a positive note,’ he said.