By Connor Steel
GOSPORT BOROUGH’S highly anticipated Senior Cup final against defending champions Moneyfields next week has been officially postponed by Portsmouth District Football Association (PAFD) officials; citing staffing and logical problems in an unexpected move that has been welcomed by both team managers with no new date or date confirmed at the time of writing.
The cup final was originally scheduled to be held on April 6 (Wednesday) with a 7:45pm kick-off time at Westleigh Park; the home of Vanarama National South team Havant & Waterlooville FC. But this changed on Monday afternoon as the PDFA tried to avail concerns from organisers and clubs; instead made an announcement published on their website reading:
“The PDFA have decided to postpone the final to a later date. There are significant logistical issues relating to the staffing of the event, with insufficient PDFA members available to support the event fully. In addition, the PDFA are cognisant of the fact that Gosport Borough’s season is at a critical stage and the club needs to fully focus on their efforts to achieve a position in the play offs”
Dates for the rescheduled final are unclear amidst suggestions that it could be held at the end of the league season, with Gosport still challenging for the play-offs in the Southern Premier and Moneyfields still to play a handful of games in the Wessex Premier Division following previous postponements.
There is also a rumour that the final will be played on a Saturday instead of midweek as organisers try to entice greater crowds and build upon successful non-league attendances. But PDFA officials remain coy as they stated they “will liaise with both clubs over the coming days to ensure that a mutually convenient date is arranged as soon as possible.”
Different venues have furthermore been mooted by fans of both clubs, with Fratton Park holding recent finals of its kind including Moneyfields’ victory over Baffins Milton Rovers last May. Another option is for the clash to be held at Privett Park with equal shares of gate receipts, an idea that has been put forward by Gosport as manager Shaun Gale gave his thoughts.
He told Portsmouth Sport: “It wouldn’t have been ideal (to play on April 6) as we’ve still got five league games left. Every time you play you run the risk of picking up injuries. We had another one at the weekend when Billie Busari was virtually kicked all game – he got two naughty tackles.’
Moneyfields manager Glenn Turnbull, hoping to win the trophy for the third straight year, further welcomed the postponement as he responded to the news, saying: “It gives us more time to plan and prepare. We are the underdogs, so we need to prepare as best we can. It will also enable me to keep on telling the squad they’re playing for their cup final places – it’s a carrot to dangle.”
More information will be released by both clubs over the next few days on any new date and venue, with supporters asked to regularly check for details on their websites or social media pages.
PICTURED BY HAVANT & WATERLOOVILLE FC: Questions remain about whether Westleigh Park will host the Portsmouth Senior Cup showcase following Monday’s postponement.