AFTER LESS THAN A YEAR IN EXISTENCE SOUTHSEA BRONX FC CHASE A LEAGUE AND CUP DOUBLE
The story of Portsmouth Football Club‘s recent promotion to League One isn’t the only football fairytale to occur on the south coast this season. As the season draws to a close, Southsea Bronx Football Club has the chance to end their debut season with a league and cup double when they take on Watersedge Park for the London Cup this Sunday morning.
The side was created after a group of friends from school and college decided to set up a Sunday league team. While racking their brains trying to establish a team name and an identity, one of the boys came up with the idea to of Southsea Bronx Football Club. Obviously inspired by Bored of Southsea’s famous logo which was originally designed by Bruce “Jubru” Jamieson. Now a senior designer for the design company and friend of Strong Island, I Love Dust. The logo was first conceived whilst Bruce at college as a tongue in cheek play on words from the Boogie Down Productions song ‘South Bronx‘.
So it was with their blessing that Southsea Bronx FC was born. They also adopted the club colours to match the tees, white, orange and black. Sponsorship soon followed by another Albert Road favourite, The Wine Vaults.
The season started with a 1-0 victory against Sirlion of Beef thanks to a goal from Malick Doumbia and a clean sheet for goalkeeper Ed Anderson and his defence. Big wins followed against AFC Drayton in the league and Freehouse Reserves in the Challenge cup. AFC Trades inflicted their first defeat of the season in the PDFA Junior B Cup. This served as a reminder that they wouldn’t get things all their own way if they didn’t work hard for it.
By October there had already been a few additions to the squad in Dan Holland, Conor Mansfield and Michael Beasley. Holland went on to be an ever-present in central defence ever since. After their slip up against AFC Trades the boys got themselves back on track and recorded four wins in a row, scoring 21 and conceding 10.
Ben Thomas puts one a free kick away during the 6-1 victory over Broadoak.
Southsea Bronx suffered a disappointing two defeats in a row to Dunham Bush and Freehouse in the league and Challenge Cup respectively. Since those games in early November, the boys have gone on a five and a half month unbeaten run which has seen them drop only two points during a 1-1 draw with Dunham Bush. The side appears to be assuming the role of Southsea Bronx’s bogey team. Conor Mansfield’s goals have played a large part in that fantastic run, in just 13 appearances he’s scored an incredible 24 goals. That is just under two goals per game!
Of course with a run like that Southsea Bronx secured the league title with one game to spare. They confirmed their position at the top of the City of Portsmouth Sunday Football League Division 3 by winning 3-0 against Broadoak Social. They had to play the majority of the season without Jack Woods who suffered a serious ankle injury. Woods is continue his rehabilitation and we hope to see him back in the side as soon as possible.
End of season stats: P 16 W 14 D 1 L 1 GD +50 Pts 43
The quest for silverware began with a cup upset when they won 6-0 against Cobra Jets from the second division. In an exciting quarter-final, they overcame the challenge of Cross Keys Athletic 4-1. A win was helped by a penalty save from Ed Anderson. This set up a semi-final against Star & Garter, the tight game was settled by a Conor Mansfield hat-trick and could have perhaps been more comfortable had it not been for an OG. Although I have heard claims that it was going in anyway! 😂
Last night I caught up with the team while they got in one last training session before Sunday’s final. While I was there I spoke with Southsea Bronx player-manager Kieran Pollard who is relishing the chance to lift the cup and complete what has been a superb season for the side.
Have you been surprised by the teams success this season?
I was always confident we would do well, to win the league and reach a cup final in such convincing fashion though has been a real bonus! Having played with a number of our players when we were a bit younger I knew we had the quality to do well, in fact it soon became apparent that some of the players are too good and I could no longer get in my own team! I was told by a few Sunday league veterans that with us being a young team that we may struggle with the physicality of some of the other teams, that has not been a problem though and having that extra energy and pace that comes with youth has worked in our favour.
How will you and the squad approach Sundays final?
The players will be under strict orders to not go out the night before the final! Though a lot of players have been known to put in their best performances when a bit worse for wear, so maybe I should encourage it! We have a formation and approach that has worked well for us all season that we will be sticking with. From information I’ve received from our Chief Scout Aaron Burns I think Watersedge Park will prove to be our toughest test yet, but we go in to the game in great form and looking to enjoy the occasion.
Are you confident of completing a league and cup double this season?
I can’t see why not! We have put in some really good performances this season against some tough opposition. Watersedge Park are in the league above us and have been in really good form themselves, so really we go into the game as underdogs. We have beaten two other teams from that league already to reach the final so we take great confidence from that and hopefully can cause an upset to complete what would be a perfect season.
How do you go about spreading your knowledge and experience amongst the squad?
I’d like to say I have masterminded the whole thing, if I’m honest though it hasn’t required too much tactical input from me. As the players would probably tell you My team talks are pretty brief! The ability of our players and strength in depth has ensured we have had such a successful season. All I’ve needed to do with help from my Assistant/Captain Zach Gordon.
Win or lose on Sunday, what are the team’s objectives for next season?
I can see no reason that with the players we have and the experience gained from this season why we can’t go on to get another promotion next season. No matter what happens on Sunday though, we have had a great year and all the players should be proud of what we have achieved in our first season together.
Dan ‘Duchy’ Holland