‘The squad is full of young lads - hopefully they’ll take on how good they actually are now’ – US Portsmouth striker Andrew Todd on FA Vase heroes
Andrew Todd has experienced plenty of highs and lows during a senior playing career spanning the best part of two decades.
But the US Portsmouth striker admitted he's never had a worse feeling on a football pitch then the one he felt in the crushing FA Vase semi-final shoot-out loss to Binfield.
Todd, 37, who took and scored US Portsmouth's first penalty, says it's a defeat that will be tough to get over.
‘At the minute it’s difficult to take it all in, especially the way it finished up, and being more or less inches away and 3-2 up in the shoot-out.
‘That is the lowest point in my footballing time.
‘I’ve been playing men’s football for 20-odd years now - it could have been the highest moment but it ended up the lowest. It’s difficult to take.
‘It’s why we play the game for these type of moments. But you look back on it and it could have gone the other way against Christchurch (in the fourth round when US won on spot-kicks).
‘When the dust settles and when you look back, it’s hard to take now, but we did the same to Christchurch.'
USP's largely young squad put themselves in the national spotlight with their remarkable run to the semi-finals.
Todd – who won the Wessex League Premier title with Petersfield in 2015 and who later played for AFC Portchester, added: 'It’s been an unbelievable experience. Especially for the young lads, the squad is full of young lads, hopefully they’ll take on how good they actually are now.
‘It shows what level they can play at and should be playing at. They should take a lot from this experience, but it’s obviously a bit too late for me.’
Todd, who netted four times in his side’s memorable Vase run, plus two penalties in shoot-outs, was a central figure in USP’s two good chances in the opening 10 minutes of the second half at the weekend.
First, he played in James Franklyn for an angled run at goal which saw the top scorer’s shot saved by keeper Chris Grace. Then, Todd rose at the back post to send in a looping header which was tipped over the bar by the back-pedalling Grace.
‘The only difference for me (from the Flackwell win in the quarter final) was we didn’t get that second goal,’ recalled Todd.
‘If we’d have caught them on the counter - Franko (James Franklyn) had that chance where it was narrowly wide and I had the header where it was tipped over.
‘If one of those goes in I think it’s the game to bed, but it didn’t quite happen.'