Baffins Milton Rovers boss Fred Cornish challenged his side to turn their silverware double into a treble this Saturday.
The Hampshire Premier League winners added the Portsmouth Senior Cup to their now bulging trophy cabinet with a dramatic 4-2 victory against Wessex premier Moneyfields at Fratton Park last night.
The win, which avenged last year’s final defeat against Miles Rutherford’s Moneys, was a hard-fought one but provided Cornish’s side with plenty of satisfaction as they head into this weekend’s Hampshire Premier League Cup final against Colden Common at Privett Park.
‘The lads did themselves proud,’ said Cornish.
‘They came into the game knowing we had lost in the final to Moneyfields last season and gave a goal away in the first minute. But we never stopped believing.
‘The character of the boys was there for all to see, and I thought we dominated the game from then on.
‘Considering these lads have only just come up to the Hampshire Premier League and won it at the first time of asking, myself and Lee Newport (assistant manager) couldn’t be any prouder.
‘It is now up to us to see if we can make our double into a treble in the Hampshire Premier League Cup final this Saturday.’
Moneys took the lead inside the opening minute when Jake Raine combined with Stuart Green, before coolly slotting home from close range.
But far from being disheartened, Baffins fashioned an immediate response, when Tyler Yates just failed to get on the end of Blu Boam’s free-kick.
Moneys keeper Dave Hook then had to be alert to deny Boam and Oliver Watts in quick succession.
However, there was little the keeper could do when Baffins’ deserved equaliser came midway through the first half – owed much to the work-rate of striker Jason Parish.
He pressured Danny Horrell into a mistake on the edge of his own penalty area, before calmly firing under the body of Hook.
Moneys regained the lead on 35 minutes, when Warren Hunt made the most of Raine’s excellent work.
But immediately afterwards the underdogs could have levelled again, when Mike Mallory’s long ball was seized upon by the tireless Dean Harris, who was then bravely denied by Hook.
The second half continued at a frantic pace, with Moneyfields going close to increasing their lead through a Green shot.
The game’s fourth goal arrived moments later, though – and it was Baffins who levelled with a goal worthy of gracing any cup final.
Jeff Gibbs’ long diagonal pass appeared to be heading away from danger but full-back Sam Willett had other ideas and crashed a first-time half-volley off the underside of the bar and into the net.
Dramatically, Baffins then took the lead in the 85th minute when Harris’ cross-cum-shot was fumbled by Hook and Boam was on hand to apply the finishing touch from close range.
A minute later, Moneyfields came agonisingly close to grabbing an equaliser when Green’s shot came back off the far post – before their misery was added to when Russell Rackley was shown a second yellow card.
And showing no mercy, Baffins made their numerical advantage count in injury-time when substitute Chaz Gardener tapped home from Watts’s cross to secure an unforgettable 4-2 win.