TWO Petersfield goals in the last 10 minutes robbed Whitchurch United of a first-ever Wessex League Cup final at Alresford Town’s ground last night.
It was heartbreaking for the Jam Boys, although in truth they were often on the back foot and the First Division side deserved their place in the final against either Alresford Town or Sholing.
Jim Macey’s side could have been behind inside two minutes as leading scorer Robbie Tambling just failed to convert after the impressive Mike Asare had set him up. Shane Lock shot wide with a long-range effort at the other end.
On what was an excellent pitch, both teams played some fine football at times but it was against the run of play that Luke Walker gave ‘Church the lead on the half-hour. His pace and control took him from the halfway line and has sweet strike beat Matt Short with some to spare.
Directly from the restart, Petersfield went at Whitchurch again and with what looked like a 4-3-3 formation stretched the defence. Asare almost set up Tambling again within 20 seconds but he was somehow crowded out.
The respite was shortlived as from a quick break on the right, Tambling beat Alex Thompson to level at 1-1.
Whitchurch regrouped and with 18 minutes left, substitute Tom Lockyer was involved as the ball was not cleared and Walker again lashed home a piledriver from 20 yards to put United back in front.
It was always going to be a rearguard action as freescoring Petersfield went at Whitchurch, but in the end it was a defensive error that gave them a way back in.
With 10 minutes left, the ball was given away on the edge of the area and the lightning-quick Asare reacted first to make it all square again.
Whitchurch could have won the game soon after as Ali Brown’s header from a corner was deflected on to the post, while Tambling brought a fabulous save out of Thompson, but a minute into stoppage time Buckland sent a long cross to the far post and Joe Richardson nodded home the winner to set off wild celebrations.
Manager Jim Macey was disapppointed with his side’s showing but praised Petersfield saying "they wanted it more than us."
“We were poor and I told the players they let themselves and the club down to be honest,” he added. “We always seem to freeze in the big games, which frustrates me”.
Losing Isaac Sedu with an eye injury did not help the cause but Macey did not look for excuses.
He said: “Petersfield deserved to win as we didn’t get our passing game going and credit to Ian Saunders’ men as they played some good stuff."