Gosport Borough breezed into the FA Cup first round for the first time in the club’s history and Alex Pike declared: Bring on Pompey.
The Borough boss saw his men produce a comprehensive 3-1 victory at Devon-based minnows Willand Rovers, who normally ply their trade in the equivalent of the Wessex League.
Their attendance in their last match was 68 but 892 people crammed into Silver Street with hopes of a huge upset.
Frankly, there was little danger of that happening with Borough much the better side – even if they had to adapt their style to a more direct approach to cope with a pitch where a lost tribe could have lived among the long grass.
Goals from Mike Carter, Matt Paterson and Steve Ramsey put Borough in charge.
And although Luke Alden pulled one back, Luke Durham’s red card for the home side ended any slim hopes of staging a miraculous fightback.
Pike will now be keeping a close eye on tonight’s draw and it will surprise nobody that he is pinning his hopes on making a short trip on the Gosport Ferry.
He said: ‘Which Gosport manager would ever want anything other than Pompey away in the first round of the FA Cup?
‘That would be the great draw for us. It would be a full house and a great occasion for the area.
‘There has never been a competitive game between the clubs, as far as I’m aware.
‘We will be keeping our fingers crossed but it’s brilliant for everyone connected to the club to get into the first round of the competition.’
Borough’s attitude was particularly impressive as they failed to be troubled by the pitch and some hefty challenges from their opponents.
Pike’s men bossed the game from the start, although they failed to work the goalkeeper in the first quarter.
But when the outstanding Carter cracked home a low drive after good work from Dan Wooden and Justin Bennett, they never looked like losing.
Paterson delivered an assured finish after he latched onto Carter’s clever pass soon afterwards for a 2-0 half-time lead, and when Ramsey bundled home after Bennett’s header from a corner rattled the crossbar, the job was done.
Perhaps the players felt the same as they switched off soon afterwards to allow Alden to pull a goal back.
But when Durham picked up a soft dismissal for a second yellow card, Borough could have gone on to get five or six had they really wanted to do it.
Pike said: ‘I like making history!
‘Gosport has never got this far in the competition before and it’s another achievement we can cross off the bucket list.
‘They left the grass as long as they could on the pitch and I have no problem with that – why would they set it up for us to play football?
‘We knew those first 20 minutes would be tough. It was their cup final.
‘But we knew if we tried to win it in that period, we could leave ourselves open at the back so we had to soak that up and get a foothold as the game wore on.
‘Once we got the two quick goals, I never felt they could peg us back.’
GOSPORT: Ashmore, Forbes, Pearce, Poate, Williams, Carter, Smith (Dunford, 79min), Ramsey (Wilde, 82min), Wooden, Paterson, Bennett (Wort, 79min). Subs not used: Matthews, Saez, Harris, Molyneaux