BALTI Sports were dumped out of the Dorset League Cup at the preliminary round stage as a late fightback from Holt United gave the Bulls a 2-1 victory.

Sports elected to field young talent Stef Stavrianos as number 10 and the midfielder responded in superb style against a physical Holt side.

Despite seeing a shot saved and later missing an almost open goal, the former Portland United Reserves man danced round a covering defender and coolly slotted home to put Balti 1-0 up.

After dominating the first half down the hill, Balti saw the tables turned as the hosts began to apply the pressure.

Holt identified the wings as their chosen method of attack and, although Balti initially resisted, the Sports’ defence failed to track Lewis Sainval, conceding from a free header.

Balti responded with a wide Stavrianos header before experienced striker Ricky Lane twice missed good chances.

And Sainval made Balti pay with his second header in stoppage-time, bulleting a finish past Andy Nott to punish the visitors.

Speaking to Echosport, Balti boss Marco Nott admitted the defeat was “gutting” having placed a greater emphasis on establishing a good cup run this season.

He said: “We’re bitterly disappointed. I stressed to the lads how much a cup run would mean. I watched a few cup finals last year and they’re special occasions.

“We’ve got to start to win something or get near, because otherwise it would just be a wasted opportunity.

“We went out there and gave it our all, went 1-0 up and were playing well in the first half.

“Then, second half, we were going up the hill and completely self-exploded. It was frustrating. Our gameplan went out of the window and we changed the way we played. We applied a lot of pressure on ourselves and to concede in stoppage-time was a real blow.

“Ultimately they went down the right-hand side and the lad headed it in from about the penalty spot, I think there was 30 seconds left to play.

“It was gutting to get knocked out of that cup. I feel we should be doing well in it and having players not available for a big cup game is extremely disappointing.

“Don’t get me wrong, we worked hard, but we paid the price for getting sloppy in that second half.”

Balti: A Nott, Curran (O’Shaughnessy 60), S Walker, Anderson, Taylor, Zima, Kenderdine, Devaney, Drummond (Andrews 20), Stavrianos, Lane. Sub not used: Moore