BOSS Matty Holmes saluted penalty shootout hero Gerard Benfield after Wimborne had last night booked their place in the final of the Dorset Senior Cup.

Goalkeeper Benfield saved two spot-kicks as Magpies triumphed 4-2 on penalties against Poole after an absorbing encounter had ended 1-1 after extra-time at Black Gold Stadium.

The 20-year-old, initially beaten by Steve Devlin and Jake Smeeton, went on to keep out Corby Moore’s third effort before pulling off a top-drawer save to thwart Warren Bentley.

And although Tom Rees had handed Poole the initiative by saving Billy Maybury’s opener, successful penalties by Jack Lovell, Matty Oldring, Stefan Penny and Toby Holmes saw them prevail.

Boss Holmes told the Daily Echo: "Gerard has been fantastic. We have just signed him on an extended contract for the rest of this season and next so have him tied up.

"His progress in a short space of time has been immense and that is what he is capable of.

"He is huge. He is a scaffolder at Sunseeker, he loves his job and his football. When players enjoy their football, they will play well and he is full of beans at the moment."

Holmes added: "I thought Poole showed their dominance in the first half and we were lucky to still be in the game. They were a little wasteful in front of goal but their approach play was good and they had good movement between the lines.

"We said to the boys at half-time that although they had to show them respect because they are two leagues above, at some stage, we had to do what we have been doing really well in the league.

"We woke up in the second half and caused them all sorts of problems.

"Going down to 10 men just showed the team spirit we have. All the boys dug in and we looked dangerous."