Despite the restrictions, Hampshire FA managed to play their season 2019/2020 Russell-Cotes Benevolent Fund Cup Final safely last Tuesday evening. The match celebrated the centenary of the competition, although the final was only the 98th, two in the past were not played. The game saw a gate of 243 and all profits from the match go to the Hampshire Football Association Benevolent Fund.
Although Sholing were the holders of the cup and play in a league higher than Lymington, as such were the favourites. However, the teams were evenly matched on the night and with defences dominating there were very few goal chances given away.
Sholing were the first to show when Dan Miller headed a corner onto the bar with the rebound being cleared. A few minutes later Alex Sawyer put in a run and cut in to force the Lymington 'keeper, Ross Casey into a good save.
Gradually, Lymington came back into the game and put a cross over the bar and then another just wide of the post. Sholing then caught them on the break and Dan Mason forced a save by the far post. Jake Hoole then headed in a cross which was well saved by Casey.
Lymington were forced to make a change when Luke Churchill came on for the injured Steve Flynn.
A few minutes later, Byron Mason turned in the box but his snap-shot was saved. Right on half time, a corner is not cleared by the Lymington defence and Dan Mason was on hand to power the ball into the back of the net to give Sholing the lead.
Sholing started strongly in the second half when Dan Mason chased a long ball but the 'keeper smothered his shot. A great tackle by Sholing's Dan Miller stopped Lymington equalising.
Midway through the second half Sam House came off the bench and soon after Lymington began to press harder with Dom Falco and Owen Fee both going close.
Sholing made a change in the 74th minute with Nick Watts replacing Brad Targett. Watts could have scored with his first touch but his shot took a deflection and rolled across the goal going out inches from the post.
Sholing continued to press and Claudio Herbert put a shot over the Lymington bar. No further goals were forthcoming but right on time Lymington hit the outside of the post.
The match sponsors were by Harold G Walker Solicitors.
The Referee was Gary Parsons and his Assistants were Anthony Cross and Craig Sandoe. The Fourth Official was Alex Blake.
All our good wishes go to Gary as he recovers from recent surgery. It was good to see him in the middle again!
Thanks also go to the volunteers of Sholing F.C. for their hospitality in hosting this final and assistance in smoothing out several minor problems that always seem to arise when organising a cup final!
The Player of the Match Award went to Lymington's Owen Fee.
Lymington Town: Ross Casey, Ryan Fuller, Rian Drake, Zak Pickett, Craig Stanley, Tim Stephenson, Tyrone Carkeet, Dominic Falco, Ollie Dennett, Owen Fee, Jason Brookes, Jake King, Nathan Hurst, Robin Nicholls, Steve Flynn, Conrad Churchill, Sam House, Luke Churchill, Tom Man, and Noah Piene.
Sholing FC: Ryan Gosney, Tee-Jay Cuthbertson, P.J. McLean, Dan Miller, Owen Roundell, Claudio Herbert, Byron Mason, Dan Mason, Stuart Green, Bradley Targett, Charlie Wagstaff, Luke Deacon, Nick Watts, Jake Hoole, Jaimie Bulpitt, Alex Sawyer, Prince McLean and Martin Buckland.