Horndean’s hopes of ending the season with silverware were dashed by a 2-0 defeat to Blackfield & Langley in the Russell Cotes Cup final at Gang Warily.
Disappointed Deans manager Dave Carter felt his team were second best on the night.
‘We started slowly in both halves and they punished us for it,’ said Carter.
‘Their lad up front was quality and we struggled to deal with him all night.
‘To be fair, our goalkeeper kept us in the game in the first half with a string of excellent one-on-one saves.
‘In the second half it was their goalkeeper’s turn to pull off a fantastic save to keep Lewis Stockford’s effort out of the top corner.’
The visitors threatened early and home goalkeeper Jack Nicholson was forced to save at the expense of a corner.
That, however, proved to be Horndean’s undoing as Blackfield counter-attacked immediately to take a third-minute lead through Danny Young.
Blackfield extended their grip on the game with a second goal on the hour mark.
Horndean goalkeeper Lyall Beazely pulled off a couple of good saves but there was nothing he could do to prevent Jake Rowley extending the hosts’ lead.
When the visitors had a great chance to hit back straight away Nicholson denied them with a terrific fingertip save.
Carter’s team were then unlucky to see another effort bounce away off the crossbar.
Despite making three second-half substitutions, Horndean couldn’t find a way back and had to settle for the runners-up medals.
‘It is disappointing to get to the final and not win it,’ said Carter.
‘We were far too sluggish and didn’t pass the ball well enough.
‘It was our 61st game of the season but I am not going to make any excuses.
‘Despite the disappointment of losing, the lads have done the club proud this season.
‘They have worked tirelessly throughout and it is a shame we couldn’t finish with some silverware.
‘If I can bring a couple more players in for next season then we will be able to kick on again.’
Horndean: Beazley, McFarlane, Ayres, Pitman, Hayes, Kirby, Spurway, Smith, Paxton, Stockford, Austin.
Subs: Warren, Potter, Bell, Turner, Worsfold.