Former cup winners seek more Portsmouth glory

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Mark Kelly and Liam Daish tasted Hampshire Senior Cup glory as Pompey players.

Now, 31 years after that Fratton Park success, they oversee the Blues’ return to the competition.

Kevin Ball lifted the Hampshire Senior Cup as Pompey skipper in May 1987

Kevin Ball lifted the Hampshire Senior Cup as Pompey skipper in May 1987

Pompey have re-entered the cup they quit as champions in 1987, in a bid to increase the number of reserve fixtures.

Tonight night they travel to Andover New Street (7.45pm) to face the Wessex League premier division’s bottom club.

With a youthful side to be fielded, academy manager Kelly and coach Daish will be present in the Foxcotte Park dugout to oversee the fixture.

Yet, in May 1987, they were members of the side which defeated Road Sea 2-0 to capture the trophy at Fratton Park.

Back then, Pompey had qualified by beating Vauxhall-Opel side Farnborough in the semi-final, through goals from Paul Birch and Eamonn Collins, while Road Sea had defeated Fareham.

For the Fratton Park final, boss Alan Ball named five players with first-team experience to face the Wessex league side, namely Daish, Andy Gosney, Kevin Ball, Kevin Russell and Collins.

Also selected was 16-year-old John Moteane at right-back, Lee Russell, Lee Darby, Andy Perry and former Arsenal youngster Birch.

Meanwhile, Kelly and future Hawks manager Shaun Gale occupied the bench for the evening fixture, with Kelly making an appearance.

Pompey’s two goals arrived during the second half, with Birch, who later featured in the Football League with Brentford, opening the scoring on 55 minutes.

Kevin Russell sealed victory in the 89th minute – a striker who later forged a footballing career which took him to Wrexham, Leicester City, Stoke, Burnley and Bournemouth among others.

Skipper Kevin Ball received the trophy from Jack Barter, president of the Hampshire FA, capping a season which had also seen the Blues promoted into the top flight.

Yet there was never the opportunity for the club to defend the Hampshire Senior Cup, pulling out of it for the 1987-88 campaign – and remaining on the sidelines until this season.

Pompey’s team against Road Sea in May 1987 was: Gosney, Moteane, Lee Russell, Darby, Kevin Ball, Daish, Eamonn Collins, Stapleton (Kelly), Birch, Kevin Russell, Perry. Sub not used: Gale.

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