Battling New Milton Town undone late on as Hartley Wintney win Hampshire FA Senior Invitational Cup quarter-final
Hampshire FA Senior Invitational Cup quarter-final
Hartley Wintney FC 4
New Milton Town FC 1
NEW Milton Town's impressive form finally came to an end in the Hampshire FA Senior Invitational Cup quarter-final against Southern League Premier South side Hartley Wintney.
New Milton had progressed to this stage after winning all but one of their group matches, but they always knew the match would be challenging, with their opponents typically plying their trade three leagues higher.
New Milton's only previous loss came against Southern League South side Winchester City who play two leagues higher.
Both sides started the game at a frenetic pace. Hartley Wintney tested the goal with speculative efforts that keeper Harry Phillips dealt without much trouble.
Within five minutes of kick-off, the hosts won a soft free kick after their big centre forward Eshun appeared to have been blown over by a strong wind, although Linnets' skipper Joe Kimber received the blame. Webb curled the resulting free-kick into the box, and a flicked header from Argent found the back of the net to give Hartley Wintney the early lead.
New Milton were having plenty of possession, moving the ball nicely, with Chris Long, Luke Stone and Tyrrell Sampson all asking questions of the Hartley Wintney defence.
In the 10th minute, Stone's deflected cross landed in the area, and Sampson's determination saw him get a foot in front of the defender, who brought the player down.
Hartley Wintney received a yellow card for arguing against the decision too passionately. Unperturbed by the drama, Morgan Turner fired the penalty to the keeper's left, beating his outstretched arm.
New Milton's Turner almost gave his side the lead after half an hour when his thunderbolt shot hit the crossbar and came back out onto the opposite side of the pitch.
After the break, keeper Phillips was called into action several times before the hosts found the breakthrough.
In the 58th minute, Ben Wright gave Hartley Wintney the lead when he buried Eshun's teed-up assist.
New Milton manager Paul Turner looked to shift the momentum with substitutions, but the hosts extended their lead in the 80th minute when Argent scored his second, poking home Eshun's deflected cross.
With minutes left, Argent scored his third to claim his second hat-trick in the tournament and top the goal scoring charts and progress to the semi-finals.