‘We left everything on the pitch’ – Locks Heath reflect on Hampshire Premier League cup final defeat to Bush Hill

Locks Heath were left to reflect on two ‘avoidable’ goals that gave Bush Hill victory in a tight L4 Teamwear Challenge Cup final at Westleigh Park.

Sunday, 30th May 2021, 5:18 pm
Locks Heath's Connor Johnson, left, battles with Bush Hill's Noel McCarthy-Gardiner. Picture: Martyn White.

A Shane Kent header gave Locks an early advantage in the Hampshire Premier League’s post-lockdown supplementary cup tournament showpiece occasion.

But Bush hit back in their final game as an HPL side, prior to changing their name to Millbrook and taking their place in next season’s Wessex League Division 1.

They needed a helping hand, though - Locks midfielder Jack Chambers putting through his own goal for the equaliser.

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Locks Heath's Ben Chambers is tackled. Picture: Martyn White.

A corner then brushed off a Locks head leading to Sean Haines’ winner in first half injury time.

‘We couldn’t have asked any more of the lads,’ said Locks assistant manager Jon Whitfield

‘They left everything on the pitch.

‘We were good in the second half, we kept the ball well … we just felt the two goals we conceded were poor from our point of view, they were both avoidable.

Locks on the attack against Bush Hill at Westleigh Park. Picture: Martyn White.

‘I said beforehand that we needed to turn up and we needed a bit of luck - I think that’s the bit we missed out on.

‘I think a lot of people were expecting them to turn us over, but it didn’t go that way. We showed what we can do, and we were really proud of the lads.

‘Bush Hill are a good side and are deservedly going up to the Wessex League, but we didn’t look at our place … the game could easily have gone our way.’

Whitfield admitted Locks have surpassed all expectations since Dave Fuge - the club’s 2012/13 HPL title-winning boss - returned last summer.

Locks Heath (red) v Bush Hill at Westleigh Park. Picture: Martyn White.

Now they will start the 2021/22 season as one of the title favourites.

Whitfield said: ‘We know there will be different pressures now, but we want to go and win it next season, there’s no doubt about that.

‘The whole club is going from strength to strength.’

Locks have applied to field a reserve team in next season’s Hampshire Combination League - many of their HPL rivals, such as Paulsgrove, Fleetlands, Hayling United and Clanfield, already do so.

‘A lot of players we had to let go last year are keen to come back to the club,’ said Whitfield.

Locks are also aiming to have an under-18 side for 2021/22.