SHOLING Reserves reached next month’s Southampton Senior Cup final at St Mary’s after a sensational comeback against Hamble Club.
Two-goal Jamie Mansell and Coby Wilson ensured ten-man Sholing overcame a 2-0 half-time deficit to win 3-2 at Follands Park, securing their place in the final against Hedge End Rangers on Wednesday, April 16.
The Boatmen went behind to goals from Dean Byrne and James Thompson, goalkeeper Ben Kneller keeping Sholing at bay with some fine saves.
Veteran striker Byrne headed Hamble in front from a corner taken by Liam Crook, who had won the flag-kick with a free-kick that goalkeeper Lee Webber tipped over the bar.
The lead was doubled when former Sholing striker James Thompson stabbed in from close range following a corner he had earned.
Sholing thought they had scored on half-time, before referee Krasimir Petrov decided the ball had been cleared off the line, following consultation with his linesman.
But striker Mansell soon restored parity with two goals in quick succession during a stormy second half.
The first was a beauty, a half-volley that whistled past Kneller. And shortly afterwards the No. 10 sent the Hamble keeper the wrong way from the spot after a penalty was awarded for handball.
Sholing had to play the last half hour with ten men after Mitchell Fear was sent off for a second booking following a foul on the edge of the penalty area.
After another lengthy delay, Crook narrowly missed the target with the free-kick.
Moments later, midfielder Wilson reacted quickest to another Kneller save, stunning the home side by completing the turnaround.
An appalling challenge from Crook on Sholing captain Adrian Grinciju earned Hamble’s No 10 an early bath.
Meanwhile, Kneller kept Hamble in the game until the final whistle by keeping out a powerful strike from Alex Sawyer.