US Portsmouth boss dreaming of another home draw as historic FA Vase run continues

Glenn Turnbull is hoping for another home draw after US Portsmouth wrote another chapter in their history-making FA Vase run.

Sunday, 20th December 2020, 4:19 pm
Frankie Paige (middle) has just scored a stunning goal to put US Portsmouth 2-0 up against Millbrook. Pic: Martyn White.

The 3-2 victory over South West Peninsula Premier East high-fliers Millbrook was US’ fourth ‘home’ victory in the competition this season.

Though drawn at home in every round, the club switched their first two ties to AFC Portchester - the first because they were playing the Royals and the second, against Bournemouth Poppies, because their facilities at HMS Temeraire were out of bounds ahead of the second national lockdown.

But in the past fortnight they have beaten first Brockenhurst and now a Millbrook side who arrived in Portsmouth having won 14 and drawn one of their 15 competitive games in 2020/21.

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James Franklyn, right, during a first half downpour against Millbrook. Pic: Martyn White.

‘I did say I wanted an away draw in the next round, but now I’ve changed my mind,’ said Turnbull.

‘I would fancy ourselves against anyone at home.

‘The Westfield manager messaged me saying ‘I wouldn’t want to come to Portsmouth’ and they spanked our backsides in pre-season.

‘The groundsman wants us to be at home again. He said to me ‘why do you want to go away - if we’re home I can claim five hours overtime!’

Bottoms up - Frankie Paige (2) helps celebrate Tom Jeffes' header which put US 3-0 up against Millbrook. Pic: Martyn White.

US set up their latest Vase success by scoring early in each half before adding a third 20 minutes from time.

Millbrook, however, set up a nervous finale by scoring twice in a minute in time added on.

The tie got off to a sensational start when US were awarded a penalty after only SIXTEEN seconds.

Striker Andrew Todd was needlessly shoved over by Sam Morcom and Dec Seiden sent Chris Wearing - who had saved two Bashley penalties in the previous week’s Vase win - the wrong way from the spot.

US Portsmouth striker Andrew Todd wins this header during the FA Vase win against Millbrook. Pic: Daniel Haswell.

Rikki Shepherd should have levelled on 25 minutes. A Tom Jeffes slip on a wet surface saw the ball played through to the striker, who rounded keeper Tom Price only to fire his shot back across the face of the six-yard box and just wide.

US doubled their lead two minutes after the restart with a truly stunning strike from right wing-back Frankie Paige.

Paige’s free-kick was blocked, but the rebound fell to him and he lashed a 25-yard angled drive into the top corner with Wearing rooted to the spot.

In a tie that was always end-to-end, US extended their lead when Jeffes rose highest to nod in a Paige corner.

There were numerous chances for both teams.

Millbrook midfielder Laurence Murray saw a shot hit the outside of a post, while Price twice pushed headers from Murray and Shepherd over for a corner.

At the other end, Seiden had a sight of goal, but took one touch too many and was crowded out, before James Franklyn saw a shot saved, Andrew Todd’s follow-up effort being deflected for a corner.

From that flag-kick, Jeffes won another header only to see it blocked by a team-mate

Bearing in mind their chances, it was a surprise that it took Millbrook until injury time to get off the mark, Shepherd forcing the ball home from close range.

Less than 60 seconds later, the same player scored again - heading in a cross at the near post.

That certainly set the USP nerves jangling, but the final whistle signalled another historic victory and the club’s eighth in a row in all competitions.

The draw for the fourth round is revealed at 1pm on Monday.

Fourth round ties are due to be held on Saturday, January 9 - but that obviously depends on Portsmouth’s Covid-19 tier restrictions.

USP: Price, Paige, Hazell (Kyle, 79), Jeffes, Cain, Birmingham, Pile, Glen, Todd, Seiden (Sargeant, 74), Franklyn.