Two new signings help US Portsmouth record joint-biggest win of the Wessex League Premier Division season against Cowes

US Portsmouth handed debuts to two new signings as they romped to their joint-highest Wessex League Premier Division win of the season.

By Simon Carter
Monday, 20th December 2021, 1:38 pm
US Portsmouth midfielder Florjet Vucaj about to make a challenge during the win against Cowes. Picture: Nathan Lipsham.
US Portsmouth midfielder Florjet Vucaj about to make a challenge during the win against Cowes. Picture: Nathan Lipsham.

Pip Wilcox was given his first start at centre half while University of Portsmouth student Munir Hadi was deployed at left-back in a 4-1 home victory over Cowes Sports.

The success ended a run of four successive Premier losses and hauled US up to 14th, though they have played more games than teams around them.

Wilcox is the younger brother of Fareham Town defender Archie Wilcox, while Hadi has previous step 5 experience with Essex Senior Leaguers Sporting Bengal.

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US Portsmouth midfielder Florjet Vucaj, right, celebrates a goal in the 4-1 win against Cowes. Picture: Nathan Lipsham.

Another recent arrival, ex-Amesbury attacker Israel Matonga, made his fifth sub appearance.

There was a first USP goal for striker Simon Woods with the others coming from midfield trio Florjet Vucaj, Tom Dinsmore and Cameron Quirke.

It was USP’s eighth win in 24 Premier games, and boss Tom Grice is now targeting a minimum points haul of 40 from his side’s debut top flight campaign. To achieve that, US need 14 points from 16 matches.

‘I was genuinely pleased with the win,’ said Grice. ‘I felt a few things clicked. We played really well and they couldn’t live with us.

‘It was nice for Simon Woods to get his first goal, we’ve wrapped him up in cotton wool for a few weeks due to a back problem.’

The current US squad bares little resemblance to the one that started the season, and Grice remarked: ‘We’ve got rid of some players - that’s football, it happens.

‘I’m really happy with the squad we’ve got now. I’m sure we will surprise a few teams between now and the end of the season purely because of the players we’ve brought in.

‘I can see us winning a little bit more than one in every three matches.’

Dinsmore has told Grice he is staying for the rest of the season after turning down an approach from Baffins Milton Rovers.

Though there is a planned Wessex League fixture list on December 27, US are next in action on Tuesday, January 4 with a trip to leaders Horndean.