Russell-Cotes final provides the last hurrah for Horndean

Nathan Paxton. ''Picture: Allan Hutchings
Nathan Paxton. ''Picture: Allan Hutchings
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Horndean can end their season in style by beating Blackfield & Langley at Gang Warily tonight in the Russell-Cotes Cup final (7.45pm).

Manager Dave Carter is keen to finish with some silverware after missing out on a top-10 finish in the Wessex League premier division.

‘It was disappointing not to reach our target in the league but it has still been a good season,’ said Carter.

‘We picked up our highest number of points ever in the Wessex premier and also went the furthest we have ever been in the FA Cup.

‘Winning the Russell-Cotes Cup would be the cherry on the cake.

‘This will be our 61st game of the season.’

Carter is hoping that his team’s hectic end to the season won’t leave them leg weary on the big occasion.

Horndean played four games in seven days last week and looked tired in their 2-1 home defeat by Totton & Eling.

Experienced goalkeeper Lyall Beazley was rested in the final league game but returns to the starting line-up for the final.

His presence will make a big difference in a defence which has been solid for most of the season.

Nathan Paxton and Robbie Pittman face a race against time to get themselves fit, though.

Paxton has scored 26 goals this season while Pittman has been Horndean’s most consistent player.

And ideally Carter would like them both to start the game.

Leading-scorer Gary Austin, with 27 goals, has suffered a goal drought lately but a return to form will boost Horndean’s chances.

Influential midfielder Lewis Stockford is available and is expected to start.

‘Lewis gives us quality in the midfield and always seems to have longer on the ball to do things,’ said Carter.

‘It is good to have an almost full-strength squad to choose from because it gives me greater options for changing things off the bench.

‘Though Blackfield have home advantage, their large wide pitch and excellent playing surface will suit us.’

Sponsors Arriving in Style are putting on a limousine to transport the squad to and from the game.