FOOTBALL: DPL can go all the way - Morris

CUP SUCCESS: Portland United duo Alex Halloran and Lewis Whyton

CUP SUCCESS: Portland United duo Alex Halloran and Lewis Whyton

First published in Sport Dorset Echo: Photograph of the Author by

MATT Morris sees no reason why the Dorset Premier League representative side cannot go on and reach the final of the FA Inter-League Cup after knocking out the holders at the Bob Lucas Stadium.

The DPL are set to find out their semi-final opponents today after overcoming the Jersey Football Combination in the last eight, thanks to a solitary goal from Hamworthy Recreation ace Luke Stone.

Rep side and Hamworthy United Reserves manager Morris is excited by the draw and believes his squad possess the qualities required to go all the way.

He told Echosport: “Being the holders, Jersey were big favourites in our quarter-final tie.

“They take their football very seriously and get to train together as a close-knit squad on a weekly basis, which we are not able to.

“In terms of that, it was always going to be a tough ask for us but we rose to the occasion. When I come to pick players for these games, I go for people who I know are going to do a job for me.

“I have got a lot of doubters and there are always people questioning my choices, but the fact we have not conceded a goal now in our last five games definitely tells you something about the teams I have picked.

“The sort of players I look for obviously have to possess the talent but they also need to be willing to play for each other as well.

“I think I have picked quite wisely and the team spirit and work rate we showed against Jersey proved that.

“We have got a good, little unit at the moment and having beaten the favourites now, who knows how far we could go?

“We got to the semi-finals four years ago and got knocked out but there is no reason why we cannot go one better this time.”

The clash with Jersey was tight throughout but the DPL defended stoutly and eventually broke through on 52 minutes.

Poole Borough’s Conor Jevon was the provider with a clever ball through and there was Stone to beat the keeper with a fine finish.

The DPL then had to defend against a fierce wind in the last 20 minutes to eventually see the game out, with Jersey failing to make their pressure count.

Morris added: “It was like someone had turned a wind machine on in the closing stages.

“It just suddenly picked up and, as a result, Jersey started to go a bit longer.

“It became difficult to get out but instead of bringing on another defender and inviting more pressure, we brought Adam Linaker (Portland United) on instead, to get on the ball and try and relieve some of the pressure.

“It was one of those games where the players really had to adapt and they did it superbly.”

When asked about Stone’s excellent scoring form, Morris continued: “I had to drop Sean Zima of Weymouth when Luke came back available, which was a difficult decision, but when a player has scored 29 goals and is the league’s leading scorer, you just cannot leave him out.”

The Isle of Man League and the Humber Premier League have also made it through to the last four, while the other spot will go to either the Hertfordshire Senior County League or the Worthing & District League, who still have to play.

The winners of the competition will go on to represent England in the UEFA Regions Cup.

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