Wembley dream still alive after US Portsmouth create club history in the FA Vase

Chants of ‘Wembley, Wembley’ echoed loudly around The Victory Stadium dressing room immediately after the final whistle - confirmation US Portsmouth had made club history and that their FA Vase dream remains very much alive.

Sunday, 13th December 2020, 3:21 pm
James Franklyn celebrates putting US Portsmouth into the lead against Brockenhurst. Picture by Martyn White.

A 2-1 win over Brockenhurst puts Glenn Turnbull’s side into the last 64 and tees up a tasty third round home tie against Millbrook AFC, the unbeaten South West Peninsula League Premier Division East leaders, next Saturday.

A goal in each half by James Franklyn and Andy Todd secured a deserved win by US - the eighth time this season the Wessex League Division 1 outfit have beaten opposition from a tier above.

After having won only six Vase ties in the previous 16 seasons, US are now through to the last 64 for the first time in their history.

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Andy Todd on the ball during US Portsmouth's FA Vase win against Brockenhurst. Picture by Martyn White.

Two of those eight wins against one tier higher opposition were against Brock, with Franklyn’s goal having previously given US a 1-0 Wessex League Cup win in October.

The margin of victory would have been greater but for a fine goalkeeping display by James Mayo, who possesses all the trademarks of his late father, Mark Ovendale, who played for AFC Bournemouth for two seasons before being transferred to Luton Town for £425,000 in 2000.

Mayo twice denied James Franklyn, once with an outstretched left leg and another from long range, before the US top scorer calmly beat him 12 minutes before half-time to notch his 15th goal of the season from only 14 starts (plus one as a sub).

Franklyn tends to drift in and out of games, but he’s a refreshing watch at Wessex League level; a player who has the ability to put his foot on the ball and play it around.

Dec Seiden in action during US Portsmouth's FA Vase win against Brockenhurst. Picture by Martyn White.

Josh Hazell similarly caught the eye before he seized up, although it was Andy Todd who created the opening for Franklyn to give US a deserved half-time lead.

Apart from the occasional forward forage, Brockenhurst had struggled to gain a foothold. But for Mayo and some missed chances, Turnbull felt the contest could have been settled by half time.

Instead Brock stunned US with an equaliser two minutes into the second half - teenager Toby Bailey rifling a fierce shot past Tom Price after Jude Nwachukwu's endeavours on the right.

‘Our team talk about half-time had been about keeping it tight in the second half,’ said Turnbull. ‘I hadn’t even walked back to the technical area and they’d equalised!’

Not this time - James Franklyn reacts after a chances goes begging. Picture: Martyn White.

Like Mayo, Bailey comes from footballing stock – his father John enjoying a place in the Cherries’ Hall of Fame by being the only AFC player to score at Wembley – in the 2-1 loss to Grimsby Town in the 1998 Auto Windscreens Shield final.

A double blow around the hour mark effectively ended Brock's prospects. Striker Andy Todd got a toe end to a low, acute angled cross-shot from the left-hand byline by Dec Seiden to score the USP winner.

Then, five minutes later, full-back Manufor was sent off, leaving Brock to play the last half-hour with ten men.

As the tempo increased and leg muscles tightened on the soft, energy-sapping Victory Stadium surface, so Mayo’s shins denied Todd a third for US.

At the other end Adam Grange blasted a great chance of a late equaliser over the crossbar as Services repelled a late Brock onslaught before celebrating their progress to the third round.

The dream lives on!

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Like USP, Millbrook are also through to the third round for the first time in their history.

Keeper Chris Wearing saved two first-half penalties as they claimed their second higher-division scamp of the Vase campaign.

After beating Western League Premier side Hallen in the previous round, they stunned Wessex Premier side Bashley 2-0 at Jenkins Park.

Wearing first kept out a 12th-minute spot-kick from Conor Whiteley and then saved Harry McGrath’s 42nd-minute penalty as well.

Jake Foster fired Millbrook ahead with a wonder goal from 30 yards and captain Tom Payne doubled their advantage from a second half penalty.

The Cornish side will obviously provide tough opposition for US - they are currently top of the South West Peninsula League Premier East with 10 wins and a draw from 11 outings.