Sholing Reserves have set the bar for their first team ahead of the FA Vase final by thrashing Hedge End Rangers 5-0 in the Southampton Senior Cup Final at St Mary’s tonight, to complete one half of what could be a historic haul of silverware.
A dominant display by Dave Fear’s second string Boatmen saw them romp to a 3-0 lead before half-an-hour had been played.
They continued with some more free-flowing attacking football by putting two further goals past Hedge in the second-half.
Adrian Grijincu’s opener on nine minutes was followed by a second soon after as Coby Wilson found the net straight from a corner for his first.
The pick of the goals came as Cain Prentice, Sholing Reserve's top-scorer, slammed an effort, taking a deflection on the way through into the top left of the net from a narrow angle.
Jamie Mansell, Prentice’s strike partner, then fired in a goal of his own with a powerful strike into the roof of the net to break Hedge hearts.
Wilson made it five, completing his double, with a confident finish from the edge of the box with 15 minutes left.
That marks the eighth occasion that a Sholing side have won the Southampton Senior Cup and the Boatmen’s first XI will certainly want emulate this confident performance when they take on West Auckland in the FA Vase final next month at Wembley.
Despite the defeat Hedge remained determined throughout and attempted to push the youthful and well organised Sholing until the last minute – the heroics of ‘keeper Phil Kinally restricted the Wyvern League title chasers from scoring more.
It was almost disaster for Hedge End from kick off as Jamie Craven chipped elegantly over their defence with Prentice latching on only to lob wide.
Immediately after that the hot-form striker was in again but ‘keeper Kinally was quick off his line to hault the attack. Wilson then swung a shot narrowly wide of the far post.
The onslaught continued as Prentice headed at Kinally, for the already battered stopper to palm wide. That was all in the space of ten minutes.
Finally Hedge got a touch of the ball and moved it up field, that possession saw Bryn Schwodler fire a low shot at Sholing stopper Matt Renouf.
The lung-busting opening continued as Renouf cleared from that attack. The Silverlake Arena side picked up the ball and midfielder Grijincu found space in the box to curl with aplomb into the top right of the net to make it 1-0.
And they doubled their lead on 15 minutes. Following a superb goal-line clearance from Hedge's Matt Alford, as the dangerous Prentice nipped through once more, the resulting corner taken by Wilson was delivered accurately across the face of goal, taking an awkward bounce and into the net.
That made it 2-0 and meant this vibrant and youthful Sholing side were already cruising to victory.
Prentice, who never for second looked out of the place on the turf at St Mary’s, linked up with strike partner Mansell after he had jinked into the box past several stranded Hedge players.
He then made a simple pass to Prentice who arrowed with his left foot, taking a deflection off a Hedge defender, and into the top left of the goal to make it 3-0 and create an unassailable lead on 22 minutes.
Richard Bauck’s side finally settled and almost got an all-important foothold before the break as top scorer, with 27 goals in 28 games in the Hampshire Premier League, Gavin Cross fired low and hard at Renouf, the ‘keeper pushing it away for a corner.
After the restart the game started quietly but was soon ignited as PJ McLean, a relation of first-team Vase hero Marvin McLean, was forced clear off the line from Andy Bauck’s shot inside the box.
Sholing had their fourth as Mansell slammed into the roof of the net from just inside the box just before the hour mark.
And they had a fifth and final goal as Wilson shot confidently into the net from the edge of the box with 15 minutes left.
Sholing Reserves proved to be a highly confident outfit whose intensity of play and youthfulness prevented Hedge End from ever getting on the ball and fully threatening their goal.
The heroics of their Kinally 'keeper wasn't enough to see them through.