Petersfield Town assistant boss Jamie Hampson accepted his side were second best to AFC Portchester in yesterday afternoon’s Wessex League Cup final as the Rams failed to clinch a memorable league and cup double after a 1-0 loss.
Despite having a man advantage for the whole extra-time period, following a goalless 90 minutes at Wicor Rec, the league champions were unable to match their opponents’ tempo – a fact Hampson was honest enough to admit.
He said: ‘We weren’t at our best, but it would have been nice to get that second cup.
‘Fair play to Portchester, they battled well, and even when they went down to 10 men, they grafted out the result that they wanted.
‘We didn’t peform how we have done all season, especially after they had the man sent off.
‘We couldn’t take advantage of that and at the end of the day I think Portchester deserved it.’
In a game where chances were at a premium, the Royals had the better of the play, with both Joe Bye and Joe Noakes going close in the first half.
Petersfield’s best efforts fell to Andy Todd and Warren Hunt, but their attacks lacked any venom.
It looked inevitable that the game would go to extra-time, even after Bye saw red on the stroke of full-time.
And the Rams were punished for not making the extra man count when Alex Baldacchino popped up with the winner after 101 minutes of football.
Even after the goal, Petersfield could not muster up any fight – a late speculative Todd effort summing up the league champions’ day.
Despite being gutted by the defeat Hampson is already looking to build ahead of a new challenge next season.
‘It is the end of the season now, but we’ve got to focus and we are already starting to think about pre-season,’ added Hampton.
‘The players know the job that they have to do.
‘They will have the summer to relax but everyone is looking forward to this new challenge.
‘Myself and Ian (boss Saunders) are constantly in talks about getting players and making sure the ground is up to scratch, so there will be no rest for us.’
_ – TIM BIRKBECK