Sparsholt College 3 Itchen College 2.
Hampshire Colleges Cup semi-final.
Two goals from David Jerrard and one from Oli Bailey booked Sparsholt a place in the Hampshire Colleges Cup final against either Brockenhurst or Portsmouth on Wednesday afternoon as they finally beat their bogey side Itchen College at a chilly Portway Stadium.
Neil Benson’s side got home after going behind to an early goal and were helped by the sending off of Itchen’s Joe Griggs with ten minutes left for two bookings.
It all looked so different within seven minutes of the start as Itchen started strongly and when Brad Doyle found room to cut inside his shot beat Josh Helm with a fine finish.
Bailey then set up Ed Chappe who shot wide as Sparsholt looked to bounce straight back but they were not to be denied for long as Chappe’s 20 yard shot was too hot for Nathan Goodger to handle and Bailey rolled in the rebound.
The Andover Town youngster Chappe then linked up with Callum Cuniffe-Pilley to feed Jerrard and he crashed in the second on 22 minutes to turn the game around.
With Itchen on the back foot giant defender Chris Williams got forward and his shot was somehow deflected onto the bar by Goodger near to the break.
Itchen again started the half strongly and with Sparsholt pinned in their own half an equaliser loooked likely and after Griggs was booked captain Joe Chamberlain was denied by a superb stop by home keeper Josh Helm.
As Sparsholt woke from their half-time slumbers Bailey was just edged out by a determined defence before Itchen’s deserved equaliser as Doyle again cut in and finished well to make it 2-2.
Tommy Wright was showing some of the form which impressed for Andover Town on the same ground on Saturday and his mazy run was just cut short by Dylan Owen but it was his fierce shot with 15 minutes to go which ultimately changed the course of the game as Goodger could only parry it and Jerrard bundled it in from on the goal line.
Griggs then was reckless with a tackle and earned a second yellow card, a decision which displeased visiting coach James Taylor, who was also ordered away from the dug outs but despite a determined last few minutes Sparsholt hung on.
It was a well deserved victory for what is mainly a group of first years, a number of whom have already been blooded into Andover Town’s senior side and they now turn their attention to the ESFA National Cup semi-final against Stanmore College, probably at the Portway on a date to be decided.