Teenage goalkeeper arrives by train to answer Baffins Milton Rovers SOS – and makes winning Wessex League debut

A teenage goalkeeper arrived in Portsmouth on a train to answer a Baffins Milton Rovers SOS.

By Simon Carter
Sunday, 12th December 2021, 1:42 pm
Defender Ed Sanders, right, scored an acrobatic scissor kick in the win against Alresford. Picture: Chris Moorhouse
Defender Ed Sanders, right, scored an acrobatic scissor kick in the win against Alresford. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

Worthing United youngster Giannis Boda made his debut in Saturday’s 3-2 home win over Alresford that lifted Baffins into third place in the top flight of the Wessex Premier League.

He had been recommended to Rovers boss Shaun Wilkinson by his former Brighton & Hove Albion colleague Adam Hinshelwood.

Wilkinson had been forced to start searching for a new keeper at 6.30pm on Friday after regular No 1 Konrad Syzmaniak contacted him to say he’d injured his ankle while out training.

‘I’d never met him, I didn’t know who he was,’ Wilkinson said of 18-year-old Boda. ‘But Adam’s a former team-mate and I trust his opinion.

‘The lad doesn’t drive, so he got the train down from Brighton - he met the lads for the first time at 1.30pm in the changing room!

‘He did ok, you couldn’t fault him for the goals.’

Early on Boda found himself facing a penalty, awarded for a Lee Molyneaux foul, but Brandon Channell fired his spot-kick over the bar.

Baffins took advantage of the let-off by easing into a 2-0 half-time lead thanks to a brace from top scorer Rudi Blankson, who now has 18 league and cup goals to his name.

Centre half Ed Sanders produced an ‘unbelievable’ scissors kick effort from a corner to extend the lead.

Alresford reduced the arrears late on after Wilkinson had ‘messed’ up the formation by taking off Charlie Williamson and James Cowan, both on four bookings, to avoid them picking up any suspensions.

‘We were a little bit flat in the first half,’ said the boss. ‘It was a case of ‘after the Lord Mayor’s Show’ (Baffins had ended Hamworthy’s unbeaten league run the previous Saturday).

‘There were a few strong words at half-time to get them back on their toes.

‘We got a bit lucky with the penalty but I don’t think we ever looked like losing. It’s all about results at this stage of the season.’

Baffins, five points behind leaders Horndean with two games in hand, travel to Hamble Club next Saturday before welcoming Fareham Town on Monday, December 27.