‘We want to win it for Paul’ – Moneyfields Reserves targeting Hampshire Premier League supplementary cup success
Interim player-manager Jake Knight believes Moneyfields Reserves are capable of being crowned L4 Teamwear Challenge Cup champions.
He insists the whole squad are motivated to go all the way in the competition in honour of former manager Paul O'Rielly.
Moneys secured their spot in the last-16 stage of the Hampshire Premier League’s post-lockdown cup courtesy of a 1-0 group 6 win at Fleetlands on Saturday.
Jacob Payne's strike five minutes from time ensured the Division 1 side are guaranteed a top-two finish in a group including three teams from the HPL Senior Division.
Knight reckons Moneys, unbeaten in the past two coronavirus ravaged league seasons, winning 22 of their 24 matches, are using this competition to show why they deserve to be playing at a higher level.
Taking temporary charge in the cup after former boss O'Reilly was relieved of his duties last month - ex-Moneys striker Lee Mould will be in charge next season - insists the current squad are determined to go all the way for their former boss.
Knight said: This is something for us where after two years of being unbeaten and not going up the leagues, I think this is our little send-off and something to work and show for.
‘We’re all buzzing with it.
‘Even though we play in Hampshire Div 1, we all know that the players who play for this team can definitely play higher.
‘Everyone would like to say they’ve got what it takes to go to the end, I believe we’ve got the quality to do that, but you can have the best team - it depends how you turn up on the day.
‘You can’t just turn up expecting to win and if you turn up coasting, especially when you play teams in these (higher) leagues, you’ll get a pasting when you go in with that attitude.
‘We’ve got to be ready, but we believe we can go all the way.
‘It would be nice to do it for Paul as well because it was hard circumstances for him, but it’s one of those things in football - those things happen with new management and management wanting their own staff.
'If we can win this then it’s a good show of what we’re capable of and it’s something to celebrate afterwards.'
Moneys host Locks Heath in their final group 6 fixture on Saturday knowing a win will see them finish top of the group and secure a home tie in the last-16 against either AFC Netley, Broughton or Michelmersh.
If Locks win the group, Moneys will travel to either Netley or Broughton.
Yet, although Knight would love to finish top of the group, he says securing qualification to the next stage with a game to spare is a good achievement in its own right.
He added: 'I guess it’s a bonus for us that we get to play someone we do know and from our league (in the last-16).
'We’ve made it through now so we’re happy with that. We’ve got another big game with Locks Heath so we’ll see how it goes.
‘It’s a win-win because if the loss does happen, which obviously we don’t want, it doesn’t really mean too much.
‘But if we can nick that top spot then that will be good for us, definitely.'
It has been a disappointing cup campaign for Fleetlands, who only lost one league game prior to curtailment. They have been beaten 1-0 twice by Locks Heath and had previously drawn 0-0 at Moneyfields. Their only win – and only goals – came in a 3-0 victory at Hayling.