US Portsmouth boss hails ‘best performance’ in his time at the club as Wessex promotion rivals Bemerton are thrashed

Glenn Turnbull hailed the midweek thrashing of Wessex Division 1 promotion rivals Bemerton as ‘the best performance’ in his time at US Portsmouth.

Wednesday, 28th October 2020, 11:24 am
Tom Jeffes, right, scored against his former club as US Portsmouth thrashed Wessex promotion rivals Bemerton 4-1. Picture: Keith Woodland

USP stormed into the top three on Tuesday evening after coming from behind to win 4-1 in Salisbury.

‘It could have been 10-1,’ said boss Turnbull. ‘When you win 4-1 away at one of your main rivals and their goalkeeper is voted man of the match, it tells you everything you need to know.

‘I was literally over the moon in the changing room afterwards.

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‘I just told the team ‘that’s the best I’ve seen you play in my time here’.

Turnbull had feared the worst when top scorer James Franklyn was clattered by a strong tackle in the opening seconds.

‘I thought he might have to come off, but his ankle was strapped up and he showed tremendous character to carry on.’

After falling behind on the half-hour mark, US replied in startling fashion - scoring three times in 11 minutes through ex-Bemerton man Tom Jeffes, Franklyn and Liam Kyle.

Jeffes was back in the starting XI, in place of Sonny Harnett-Balkwill, after being dropped to the bench for last weekend’s equally impressive win at Newport IoW.

‘We hit the post, we had one cleared off the line, and their keeper produced a saved like Gordon Banks did against Pele from Liam Kyle,’ said Turnbull.

‘I’d already turned around and was jumping in the air I was so sure it was a goal.’

US had expected Bemerton to come out for the second half fired up, but instead US ‘controlled the pace, controlled the tempo.

‘We got under their skin and in the end it was inevitable they would have someone sent off.’

That was Brandon Mundy, who was dismissed for kicking out at another ex-Bemerton player Josh Hazell.

Hazell had only just come on as a sub for Kyle, who had been booked and was withdrawn as a precautionary measure.

‘They just lost it,’ said Turnbull. ‘They were bickering amongst themselves.’

Franklyn completed the rout - against a Bemerton side who had won 13 of their previous 16 league games - with his 12th strike of the campaign.

In addition to recalling Jeffes, US also brought Harry Sargeant back into midfield at the expense of Jordan Pile.

Turnbull declared Sargant and Callum Glenn as ‘exceptional’, but paid tribute to the squad’s ‘togetherness.’

‘Jordan didn’t moan, he was on the sidelines encouraging all the game,’ said the boss.

‘We had five injured players who all came along to support, and they helped to clean the dressing room afterwards.

‘That’s the sort of culture we’ve cultivated, and it’s not easy to do on a shoestring.

‘In the WhatsApp group after the (Bemerton) game, some of the lads were saying ‘who needs money, this is the best feeling I’ve had as a player.

‘That’s coming from players who’ve been around 10 or 15 years at a variety of clubs.

‘I take that as a big positive, and maybe other clubs need to focus more on that sort of thing.’