Anglian sponsored team Alresford Town, have created their own slice of history as they lifted the Hampshire FA Sunday U18s Cup.
They are the first Hampshire Youth League Division 3 side to make the final – let alone win the trophy, in the competition’s history.
Having finished third in the Southampton Youth League Division One during a brief switch to Winchester City last season, Mark Bentley’s Alresford boys are currently on course to finish runners-up in their debut Hampshire League season. They have lost just twice in all competitions in the last 13 months.
The Magpies’ as they are locally known, had an amazing cup run kicked off with 3-1 victories over Littleton Juniors and Winchester City. As Alresford gained momentum, Andover was the next to fall in a 6-2 hammering, followed by a 4-0 quarter-final ousting of Farnborough.
In the semi-finals, Alresford edged Salisbury City 2-1, setting up a date with United Services Portsmouth in the final at Hampshire FA’s Winklebury Football Complex.
Trailing 2-0 inside 20 minutes, Alresford pulled back to 2-1 at half-time courtesy of Jamie Bentley. They levelled with an Alex Potter penalty which resulted in US Portsmouth having two men sent off – one for a professional foul and one for arguing in the aftermath. Even with nine men, US Portsmouth managed to take the tie into extra time and, extraordinarily, they pulled it back to 3-3, after Andy Turner had put Alresford ahead for the first time. As it went into penalties it was the Magpies youngsters who held their nerve, eventually winning 3-1 on penalties.
“It was a great game. It had everything,” said Alresford boss Bentley. “For US Portsmouth to come back and score with nine men was fantastic. But my lads’ discipline was superb.
“I believe it’s the first time an Alresford side has ever won a county youth cup. They made the final in 1988 and lost 2-1 to Horndean. It’s a good achievement for the club and nice for the town.”
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