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Boy's Own stuff from cup hero Travers


AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

Mark Travers may have written a new chapter in the footballing record books after taking centre stage as AFC Bournemouth beat Eastleigh to lift the Hampshire Senior Cup for the first time since 1989.

Goalkeeper Travers saved a first-half penalty, scored an injury-time equaliser and then kept out the Spitfires’ first spot-kick as the Cherries won a shootout 5-3 after the final had ended 2-2 at AFC Totton's Snows Stadium.

Travers, who scored on his senior debut during a loan spell with Weymouth in 2017, came up for Gavin Kilkenny’s corner in the dying seconds and planted a bullet header past opposite number Ross Flitney to take the tie to penalties.

And after Keelan O’Connell had converted the Cherries’ first spot-kick, Republic of Ireland international Travers dived to his right to save Dan Bradshaw’s effort from 12 yards.

Kilkenny, Jaidon Anthony, Brooklyn Genesini and Corey Jordan all confidently despatched their respective penalties as Shaun Cooper’s team added the county cup to the Central League Cup they claimed after beating Carlisle in the final at St George’s Park on Wednesday.

The 2019/20 competition had been delayed due to the coronvirus pandemic with no fewer than 596 days separating the Cherries' second-round victory over Basingstoke – when Simon Francis and Lloyd Kelly featured – and the final.

And their involvement included matches against Basingstoke and Farnborough in 2019, Sholing and Moneyfields in 2020 and Eastleigh in 2021. 

A keenly-contested affair saw Eastleigh draw first blood when former Sierra Leone international Abdulai Baggie headed home Tom Blair’s hanging cross from close range in the fourth minute.

Kilkenny fired narrowly over the crossbar and Jordan nodded Jordan Zemura’s centre over the top as the Cherries looked for a quick response.

O’Connell’s deft effort was palmed away by Spitfires goalkeeper Flitney before Christian Saydee’s piledriver from distance was deflected for a corner.

Baggie’s free-kick from 20 yards flew wide of the upright and, as chances continued to come at both ends, Saydee headed Zemura’s cross past the post.

Kilkenny restored parity when he curled a stunning free-kick from 20 yards around the defensive wall and out of the reach of Flitney's despairing dive.

Eastleigh were awarded a penalty five minutes before the break when referee Rob Ablitt deemed Dinesh Gillela had shoved former Cherries academy player Lewis Beale.

However, Dan Smith’s spot-kick was superbly saved by Travers, the Cherries goalkeeper diving to his left to keep out the striker’s effort.

Eastleigh regained the lead just 76 seconds after half-time when Ben Scorey pounced on a loose ball inside the 18-yard box and drilled it past Travers and into the bottom corner.

Luke Nippard lifted his shot over the crossbar after Kilkenny’s corner had fallen for him before Anthony took aim from a tight angle, forcing Flitney to save at his near post.

Substitute Ryan Glover, on as a 59th-minute replacement for Saydee, scooped an effort over the top with his first touch after being picked out by O’Connell.

Ben Greenwood’s last-ditch challenge prevented Beale from going through on goal before Gillela’s excellent tackle stopped Smith from seriously testing Travers.

Flitney pulled off an excellent reaction save after Anthony had unleashed a thunderous drive from the edge of the box, the goalkeeper tipping the striker’s effort over the crossbar.

And after Anthony had raced down the left flank and centred for Glover, his first-time shot was blocked by a defender.

In the closing stages, Flitney kept out Glover's low drive and Kilkenny saw his shot flash past the upright.

Flitney was beaten by his opposite number in added time when Travers came up for Kilkenny's corner and planted a firm header into the back of the net, his goal sparking jubilant celebrations on the Cherries bench.

And the unassuming Irishman maintained his heroics into the penalty shootout, saving Bradshaw's first spot-kick before the Cherries went on to prevail 5-3 to claim the club's fourth county cup.

AFC Bournemouth: Travers, Genesini, Gillela, Jordan, Greenwood, Zemura, Nippard, Kilkenny, O’Connell, Anthony, Saydee (Glover, 59).

Unused subs: Burgess, Mohamed, Adams, Besant (g/k).

Eastleigh: Flitney, Baughan, Torniainen, Bradshaw, Bragg, Scorey, Blair (Feltham, 78), Bearwish, Smith, Baggie, Beale.

Unused subs: Wilcox, Camden-Fotso, Taylor, Phelpott.

Referee: Rob Ablitt.

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