Southampton Senior Cup Final
Team Solent 1
(Dan Mason, Lee Wort, Mickey Hubbard)
St Mary’s Stadium (Southampton FC)
Another day and another cup final and another game at St Mary’s. The crowd wasn’t quite as large at the Hampshire Senior Cup final from the night before, however I was more excited for this one.
Apart from Round One, I had been to every round of the Southampton Senior Cup and followed Solent’s road to St Mary’s every step of the way. Big wins against Hythe & Dibden (7-0), Upham (6-0) and AFC Stoneham (3-0) followed by a narrow semi final win over Hamble Club Reserves in extra time confirmed their place in the final.
I also went to three out of four quarter final games including Brockenhurst versus Hamble Club and Sholing against Alresford.
I wasn’t going to miss this one and after watching Solent lift the cup last season with a 5-0 win over Blackfield & Langley, I was hoping for another entertaining game. Sholing have ended the season strong so it was looking likely that the Boatmen could add to their League Cup victory on Monday to complete a cup double.
Sholing completed a cup double with a convincing 3-1 victory over ten-man Team Solent who were aiming to make it a hat trick of Southampton Senior Cup Final victories.
The students won the cup in 2015 and 2016 but James Taylor’s men were not able to make it three in a row after losing out to a strong Sholing side. The Boatmen took the lead through Dan Mason but Tyrell Mitford levelled the score before the break. A penalty at the beginning of the second half allowed Sholing to restore their lead before Jemal Wiseman was sent off for the students. Mickey Hubbard’s long-range effort sealed the win for Dave Diaper’s men.
In front of over 700 spectators, the Sparks had the better of the early chances, Mitford dragged a shot wide as he was allowed to run, unchallenged, from deep to fire a shot at Ryan Gosney’s goal.
Jesse Waller-Lassen saw his first shot of the game whistle straight into the hands of Gosney from range as Taylor’s men looked sharp.
Tobi Adekunle rattled the crossbar for the students, a big let off for Sholing who were not forcing anything up front in their second cup final in three days.
Sholing’s first chance fell to Zach Mouland who turned his man inside the area and but, off balance, the winger could only tap a weak shot at Bradley Banda’s goal.
Diaper’s men did take the lead through Dan Mason who turned in the box and smashed a shot into the bottom corner against the run of play. It was Mason’s 45th goal of the season in all competitions.
Solent skipper Waller-Lassen was booked for a late challenge, taking a knock to the head in the process as he tried to rally his side into finding an equaliser. Clearly rattled by his yellow card, the former Tottenham youth player broke away at pace towards goal and teased the goalkeeper off his line before putting the ball into the path of Mitford to tap into the open net and bring the scores level.
Waller-Lassen spurned another good chance for Solent when he latched onto Marvin McLean’s loose clearance before hitting the ball inches wide of the top corner.
The Boatmen had a little spell of pressure but the closest they got was Hubbard’s strike which was expertly blocked away by George Butler to keep the scores level at the break.
Sholing couldn’t have wished for a better start following the interval, winning a penalty due to handball by one of the Solent players in the crowded box after Banda had spilled the ball from a Sholing cross. Lee Wort stepped up to put his side 2-1 up from the penalty spot.
It got worse for the university side when they were reduced to ten men following Jemal Wiseman’s dismissal. The midfielder had won a free kick after jostling with Dan Mason for the ball and must have said something to the referee to warrant a red card.
It was an uphill battle from there for Solent as Waller-Lassen tried a shot from an impossible angle that Gosney pushed out for a corner. The Solent talisman, in what could be his last game for his university had left two Sholing defenders sliding into the empty stand behind the goal before dispatching the shot.
Sholing made it 3-1 on 66 minutes, Hubbard zipping a ball off the wet surface that took a little bounce on its way to goal to just taking it off the hand of Banda who had done well to get down into the corner.
The third goal took all the wind out of Solent’s sail as the Boatmen went into cruise control to round off a good season in a campaign that saw Diaper oversee his 900th game in charge of the SO19 in March.
The final whistle concluded the end of the season for both sides who will rest and recover in the summer months before the start of the new season in August with both sides in the Wessex Premier once more.
2016/17 Games: 129
2016/17 Grounds: 67 (10)
Total Grounds Visited: 157 (41)