This was a lunchtime kick-off and formed the first part of a Hampshire Cup ‘double bill’ at Portchester. Both teams have been formed within the last couple of seasons and they have also been rattling in the goals on the road to this final so an entertaining encounter was anticipated.
Bengal appeared to start the better of the sides but it was Bembridge who had the first chance when Dowsett played the ball to Dexter Malin whose shot was saved low by Elsegood. Bengal went ahead in the 14th minute when Craven dawdled on the ball and Kyle Buckland took it on, got past keeper Page and rolled it home.
The lead didn’t last too long though as four minutes later, Bengal’s Hooper tripped Lester in the box to concede a penalty kick. Up stepped Dexter Malin to hit the spot-kick to Elsegood’s left, the keeper got across to parry the kick but the taker was on hand to smash home the loose ball. Dexter Malin and Atkinson Goffe both had chances that went wide. The hard working Dexter Malin was being quite troublesome to the Bengal defence, including working a good position down the left side but his cross evaded everyone in the middle. In first half stoppage time it was Bengal who almost netted when Langley’s free-kick from just outside the right of the box came off the far post.
Bengal’s Stait got in an excellent block to deny Bembridge’s Dowsett but the Islanders soon took the lead in the second half. Dexter Malin was again involved, playing a defence splitting pass to enable Atkinson Goffe to run onto and lob Elsegood to net in the 51st minute. It was all Bembridge from there as Atkinson Goffe set-up Lester who would have been disappointed to have put the ball over when well placed and a Dowsett shot went just past the far post. A vicious corner by Dexter Malin from the left forced Elsegood to push over at the near post and from the resulting corner a number of players were involved at the near post but the Basingstoke side survived.
When Bembridge won a free-kick wide right, it was that man Dexter Malin who was yet again involved, hitting a beautifully struck curling effort that went all the way into the far corner of the Brasserie net; cue long run towards the stand to take the accolades of the crowd. That came on 70 minutes and the victory was definitely completed eight minutes from time when the Brasserie lost possession and Dexter Malin, yet again, tormented them, getting down the right and laid the ball on a plate for Fuller who, despite being a touch off balance, couldn’t miss at the back post. Dexter Malin almost completed his hat-trick in the closing minutes, sweeping past three Brasserie defenders on the left but his shot deflected for a corner at the near post.
There was little doubt which of the sides deserved to win as Bembridge become the first IoW side to annexe the ‘B’ Cup since Ventnor achieved it in an all-Island final in 2004. It’s ironic that it stayed dry during the game but the presentation, which was made by Tony Seve, occurred during a heavy rain shower!! The player-of-the-match was an obvious choice – Dexter Malin of Bembridge.