Substitute Alfie Rutherford’s late strike helps managerless Havant & Waterlooville beat Basingstoke Town to retain Hampshire Senior Cup
Managerless Hawks retained the Hampshire Senior Cup with a 2-1 win against Basingstoke Town at Eastleigh's Silverlake Stadium.
It was far from convincing from the already-relegated National League outfit, who were pushed all the way by opposition from two-divisions below.Josh Huggins fired the Hawks ahead on 34 minutes, but Ben Wright levelled on the stroke of half-time.However, substitute Alfie Rutherford broke Basingstoke's resistance with a close-range finish to win it six minutes from time.
It was the club's first fixture since they parted company with Lee Bradbury in the wake of the defeat at Aldershot on Easter Monday.
But caretaker boss Shaun Gale got off to a perfect start, guiding the Hawks to glory in this competition for the second year in succession.
Goalkeeper Ben Dudzinski had his blushes spared after just two minutes when he spilled a shot from ex-Havant man Ben Wright.Michael Atkinson knocked the rebound into the net, but the Hawks were saved by an offside flag.Town were making all the running and offered much more of a threat.Dudzinski was fortunate again when another shot slipped through his hands and narrowly past the post.It was a pretty low-key affair, with both teams seeming to have an eye on their final league fixtures of the season on Saturday.
However, the Hawks took the lead against the run of play after 34 minutes.Josh Huggins ran onto a through ball and from just inside the area, fired a low shot into the far corner.But Basingstoke equalised on the stroke of half-time courtesy of Wright’s stunning free-kick.The striker curled the ball over the wall and beyond the diving Dudzinski.
Andreas Robinson and leading scorer Rutherford were sent on by caretaker manager Gale at the start of the second half.They continued to find it difficult to impose themselves on a side playing two levels below them.There was relief in the Hawks ranks when Wright curled another fine free-kick just wide of the post.Tom McGill pulled off fine saves to deny Wes Fogden and Rutherford as Gale's increased their tempo.But there was nothing he could do six minutes from the end, though.
Substitute Rutherford glanced the ball past him from close range as the Hawks retained the Hampshire Senior Cup.
Hawks: Dudzinski, Strugnell, Harris, Huggins, Molyneaux, Cordner, Paul, Fogden, Banjo, Quigley, Jalloh. Subs : Williams, Woodford, Carter, A.Robinson, Rutherford.