Shaun Boyle climbed off the bench to strike an 80th minute winner that saw Ide Hill move into the Semi Finals of the Sevenoaks Charity Senior Cup on Saturday afternoon at Wrotham School.
Still missing a number of key defenders, the Kent County side’s manager Paul McDonagh opted to play two midfielders in central defence alongside Charlie James, with Ben Holder, and Man of the Match, George Kensell turning in excellent and committed performances out of position.
Southborough proved to be a physically strong side from the Sevenoaks & District Premier Division, and it became clear quite quickly that the game would be a tight one, with Ide Hill only flickering with the quality that has propelled them to the top of their division.
The home team had an effort cleared off the line in the 10th minute when Matt Bunn lifted his effort over the onrushing goalkeeper only to see his shot swept away by the defender. Ide Hill were producing some slick openings on the break and it was one such combination that brought the opening goal. Bunn was this time the provider, feeding Tom Wright in to the penalty area 10 minutes later and the returning striker took his chance, coolly side-footing into the bottom right corner to give Hill the lead.
The game continued evenly into the break, Southborough growing in confidence especially with the aerial threat they carried and the dangerous long throw routine which spread some panic. They deservedly drew level on the hour mark, Jack Parrot latching on to a long ball over the top and firing beneath Mike Mckay for the equaliser.
With extra time looming, the game was in the balance, and there was the feel that it was going to head in that direction. Boyle then missed a gilt edged one-on-one when breaking clean through, his rolled effort just going the wrong side of the post. Bunn also passed up a couple of decent chances, rolling just wide from the penalty spot and not quite getting enough power on a cut back to trouble the goalkeeper. Southborough will also feel they should have taken one from their dangerous set piece routines.
But it was substitute Boyle who had the last word, Jack Edmeads finding him in a congested box in the 80th minute, he steadied himself and volleyed home the winner, which flashed in with the keeper helpless. Manager McDonagh was ultimately satisfied with the victory, saying: “It was hard fought, Southborough are a tough, physical side and we really had to grind it out, even when not playing particularly well.”
Talking of Kensell’s colossal performance at the back, he added: “He was brilliant, with a few defenders missing he really stood up for the side. Not just in his defensive work which was excellent, but also his distribution which was good throughout.”
Ide Hill progress to the Semi Finals where they will play Farnborough Old Boys Guild, and with a chance of silverware looming on the horizon, they’ll definitely be hoping to be back to their very best.
Meanwhile, Ide Hill’s league competitors, Sydenham Sports and Chipstead, both won at the weekend to narrow Hill’s lead at the top of the league, tightening the title race to the end as they all enter their final five games.