By Connor Steel
AFC PORTCHESTER continued their pre-season preparations with a clinical home performance against Baffins Milton Rovers on Saturday afternoon; beating their postcode rivals seven-two in a lively encounter to win the Wessex League Charity Cup in front of over three hundred supporters at the OnSite Group Stadium despite poor conditions throughout.
It took ten minutes for Portchester to create the game’s first opening with a good corner that was eventually sliced wide by George Barker; James Cowan also seeing a shot blocked at source. The visitors quickly responded with a period of possession that concluded with a low skidding effort from Joshua Rose that drifted harmlessly wide of the far right post.
A corner was headed wide by Claude Da Costa on eighteen minutes but the hosts did score just moments later; a good pass being fed through the Baffins defence to find Josh Benfield and the striker made no mistake in slotting home. This prompted further chances for Portchester with Barker and James Crane seeing their driven shots denied by the keeper.
Pressure told in the thirty-sixth minute when a headed clearance split the away backline and reached Benfield sprinting through to finish expertly past Taylor Revy at the near post. The striker was then close to gaining a hat trick but his flick effort was cleared away before Barker had the final opportunity before the interval as his lob was tipped away to safety.
Baffins came out quickly upon the restart and immediately halved the deficit with a sensational finish; Tommy Patterson controlling a ball on the half way line and lobbing the keeper from 45 yards into the net. But there was to be little nerves for Portchester as they restored their two goal lead after fifty-three minutes; Da Costa converting a great corner routine.
This third goal sprung open the ‘floodgates’ as the Royals made it 4-1 just before the hour mark; a trialist blasting home from Barker’s cross to the back post. A fifth goal then arrived when a deep ball released Liam Robinson into space and the winger beat the keeper with his driven shot; Baffins soon netting a penalty on seventy-four minutes after a late foul.
Tired legs sparked a series of substitutions but the goalscoring wasn’t finished as Portchester made it six-two with nine minutes left on the clock; another unnamed trialist firing home a rebound from Jake Raine. And the final goal came five minutes later when Harrison Brook advanced towards the penalty area; firing into the bottom corner with his cool finish.
Dave Carter’s outfit should be happy with the victory played under drizzly skies as they lifted the Charity Cup; replacing Horndean in this league’s clash of champions due to a diary clash. They will now host Sholing on Tuesday night before travelling to East Cowes next weekend; their opening competitive game being a FA Cup tie versus Wells City on 05/08.
PICTURED BY NATHAN LIPSHAM: Ball gets headed forward in league match between the local sides back on April 1.