Why a Wessex Cup final consolation goal preserved Glenn Turnbull’s remarkable record as US Portsmouth manager

James Franklyn’s goal against Hamworthy United in the Wessex League Cup final at the weekend wasn’t just a US Portsmouth consolation effort.

Monday, 24th May 2021, 11:33 am
James Franklyn celebrates his FA Vase semi-final goal against Binfield - one of 20 in league and cup action for the attacking midfielder in 2020/21. Picture: Keith Woodland

For the midfielder’s 20th league and cup goal of a pandemic-scarred campaign also ensured boss Glenn Turnbull could walk away from the club with a remarkable record.

During his two seasons in charge, USP scored in every league and cup game Turnbull watched - a total of 58 successive matches.

In all, he was manager for 60 games but missed the second and third of those in August 2019 as he was on holiday.

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In the first of them, USP drew a Wessex Division 1 game 0-0 at Newport on the Isle of Wight.

Franklyn was to net 41 times as USP subsequently scored in each of their next 58 competitive games.

Turnbull had managed USP reserves for one season when he took over as first team boss ahead of the 2019/20 season.

Franklyn ended his 2020/21 campaign as the leading marksman across the two Wessex League divisions.

Half of his 20-goal haul came in league games and the other half in FA Vase and Wessex League Cup ties.

Bemerton’s Justin Bennett is second highest with 19 league and cup goals, while the highest Premier Division scorer was Bashley’s Harry Morgan was 16.

Bennett could yet overhaul Franklyn’s total as Bemerton remain in the Hampshire Invitational Supplementary Cup, and have a semi-final tie with Brockenhurst tomorrow.

Turnbull, meanwhile, finished his two seasons in charge of the US 1st XI having won exactly 70 per cent of his 60 matches.

There were 42 wins, four draws and 14 defeats - two of the defeats coming via penalty shoot-out losses to Fareham (Hampshire Senior Cup) and Binfield (FA Vase semi-final). There was also one victory on spot-kicks (v Christchurch, FA Vase).

Turnbull has now taken over as Moneyfields manager knowing it’s been a case of ‘mission accomplished’ at USP.

The plan, when he took over ahead of 2019/20 after being in charge of the reserves for one season, was to get the club up into the Wessex Premier for the first time.

Despite both his seasons being cut short due to the pandemic, the FA last week ‘promoted’ USP into the top flight as part of their non-league restructuring.

‘I would have been happy with fourth place in that first season,’ he said. ‘Promotion was the priority - all the extra bits have been fantastic and just added to the experience and made it extra special.

‘There’s a couple of games that stand out. Winning at Whitchurch in the first season, that was when I thought we’d got promotion.

‘This season beating Christchurch on penalties. That was when I knew we could be on to something special.’

Turnbull is now hoping the scale of the USP squad’s achievement starts to sink in now their competitive season is over and consigned to the history books.

‘A few people were saying to me after the cup final ‘you’ll be back to win it next year’,’ he commented.

‘But rarely do teams reach the Wessex Cup final two years running, and even more rarely do they go so far in the Vase.

‘In the next few weeks I’m sure for some of the lads it will start to sink in what they have achieved.’