SAINTS missed the chance to book a Servio Senior Cup final against AFC Tot­ton after a 3–1 defeat at AFC Portch­ester. 

A young under-18s side opened the scor­ing through Josh Pitts to take a one-goal lead into the break. 

How­ev­er, AFC Portch­ester began the sec­ond half fired up and lev­elled the game through a Har­ri­son Brook penal­ty.

A brace from sub­sti­tute Kane O’Keefe set­tled the tie for the hosts, who secured their pro­gres­sion to the final.

Saints field­ed a major­i­ty under-18s side, with just Pitts, Tom­my Dob­son-Ven­tu­ra, and Thier­ry Rohart-Brown keep­ing their place from the quar­ter-final.

Ale­jan­dro Gomes-Rodriguez was one of sev­er­al 16 year olds to play, hav­ing impressed up the age groups this sea­son.

It was an inter­est­ing tac­ti­cal test for Adam Asghar’s charges, with the under-21s boss tak­ing the team as cov­er for under-18s Calum Mac­Far­lane. 

AFC Portch­ester set out their stall in the first half with a low block and lim­it­ed pres­sure on the ball until Saints advanced up the pitch.

This con­tributed to a slow affair but Pitts livened up pro­ceed­ings with a side-foot­ed fin­ish from inside the box.

The young goalscor­er allowed a ball in from the left to trav­el across his body before guid­ing it into the back of the net in the PO post­code.

Saints had a cou­ple of chances to extend their lead, includ­ing one pass across an open from Pitts cut out at the vital moment. 

AFC Portch­ester were much the bet­ter side fol­low­ing the break, first­ly slot­ting home a penal­ty con­ced­ed by Abdul­hal­im Okono­la-Matthews. 

That came just min­utes after Portch­ester had a goal ruled out fol­low­ing a lengthy con­sul­ta­tion between the offi­cials for a foul inside the area.

O’Keefe scored two head­ers from close range to com­plete the turn­around when Saints failed to defend their six-yard box ade­quate­ly. 

It means Portch­ester will face Tot­ton in the Alder­shot final after the New For­est side elim­i­nat­ed AFC Bournemouth’s acad­e­my in the oth­er semi.

Saints: Mohamed, Okono­la-Matthews (Oyekun­le 61), Moore, Dob­son-Ven­tu­ra, Fry, Daley, Gomes-Rodriguez (Sil­lah Diba­ga 80), Rohart-Brown, Pitts, Lett, Ehib­ha­tiomhan.

Unused subs: Upstell, Sheaf, Mar­tin.

Goals: Pitts 34.

Booked: Dob­son-Ven­tu­ra 81.

Atten­dance: 320