Hawks heading to Fratton after right royal victory

Hawks striker Dennis Oli nets against Portchester. Picture: Dave Haines
Hawks striker Dennis Oli nets against Portchester. Picture: Dave Haines
Rowan Vine. Picture: Keith Woodland

Vine calling for Gosport to fight to the finish

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Lee Bradbury was impressed with the attitude of his Hawks players as they powered into the Hampshire Senior Cup final with a 4-0 victory against AFC Portchester last night.

Two goals from Alek Przespolewski and strikes from Christian Nanetti and Dennis Oli ensured the Westleigh Park outfit will meet either Gosport or Basingstoke, who play tonight, in the final at Fratton Park in May.

Bradbury was impressed with the way his players coped with the task against a dogged Portchester side.

He said: ‘I thought it was a job well done.

‘We were bright, energetic, and hard working.

‘On another day we could have scored a few more goals.

‘We always knew it would be cagey until the first goal. Once it came, it gave us the confidence to take the game to them.

‘It was also good to keep another clean sheet.’

Portchester fought bravely but the Wessex League premier division side were ultimately well beaten by the Skrill South outfit.

The Hawks made three changes to their starting line-up, with Warren Cummings, Jake Newton and Przespolewski brought in.

Visitors Portchester came under early pressure and striker Scott Jones fired wide for the Hawks from a good position.

When the Royals started to find their feet, Simon Woods looked lively on the left wing.

The Hawks were gifted the lead, though. Josh Maddison tripped Christian Nanetti inside the area in the 10th minute.

Nanetti drove his spot-kick past diving Portchester keeper Jon Webb.

On 23 minutes, Newton almost presented the visitors with a golden opportunity to level after a poor clearance, but the ball was scrambled clear.

Just when the Hawks looked to be losing their way, Oli extended their lead on the stroke of half-time.

Nanetti scampered down the right and his low cross found Oli with his back to goal.

The big striker took everyone by surprise with a cheeky back heel into the net from three yards.

The Royals started the second half well.

Joe Bye forced a save from Scott Bevan, with a shot in the opening minutes of the second period.

Graham Rix’s determined side continued showing plenty of spirit but fell further behind in the 59th minute.

Hawks substitute Nic Ciardini was hauled down on the edge of the area and everybody stopped, expecting a foul.

Przespolewski, however, ran on and put the ball into the unguarded net to kill off the Royals.

On 69 minutes, Przespolewski then grabbed his second goal, after being put through by Ciardini.

The striker ran into the area, before drilling his low shot across Webb and into the bottom far corner.

The Royals refused to drop their heads, and it took a superb point-blank save from Bevan to deny substitute George Wells five minutes from time.

Portchester first-team coach Louis Bell said: ‘We are proud of the lads, they gave it everything. In the end, Havant’s superior class told.

‘We never let our heads drop and kept battling until the end.’

Hawks: Bevan, Newton, Cummings, Ryan, Monteiro, Woodford, Nanetti, Atangana, Oli, Przespolewski, Jones. Subs: Ciardini, Blanchett, Strugnall, Hutchinson E, Noakes.

AFC Portchester: Webb, Maddison, Stone, Salter-Vaile, Hardy, Moody, Thomson, Bye, Musselwhite, Kirby, Woods. Subs: Thompson, Crosswell, Castle, Wells, Hutchinson L.

Referee: A. Laver (Southsea).