Ide Hill’s dominance in this Kent County League Division One match, resulted in a well deserved win but all credit to their opponents for a battling performance. Ide Hill declared their intent from the start by pressuring AFC Halls’ defensive back line and stifling their desire to attack. It all paid off when Ide Hill scored with just seven minutes gone. Pushing forward from midfield visionary central defender and captain Ben Pearson neatly lobbed the ball over Halls’ defence for striker Rob Piper to run on to and confidently beat the keeper.
Just three minutes later a combination of neat passing between striker Shaun Boyle and midfielder George Kensell led to a forward pass allowing Piper to again pick up the ball and neatly slot home.
Halls’ natural style of play is based on long balls hit cross field from defence to attack for their forwards to collect but by playing a high defensive line and closing down their defence Ide Hill frustrated them. In midfield Jack Edmeads, Kensell and Steve McGinn marshalled and bossed the play.
Things continued to go Ide Hill’s way as much to the chagrin of Halls’ players the referee awarded a penalty that midfielder Edmeads tucked away with ease.
The only hiccup for Ide Hill came in the final ten minutes as they tended to defend deeper and then allowed Halls to score from an innocuous cross they should have easily dealt with.
If at the end of the first half Ide Hill loosened their grip on the game, then Halls grasped it firmly at the start of the second. They changed their line-up and attacked threateningly down the flanks. Central defender Nick Johnson made a rare appearance and teamed up well with Pearson. Equally rare was Columb Grant’s debut at wing back, his first stint there for seventeen years.
With ten minutes gone Halls won a penalty. Despite Ide Hill’s protestations the referee’s decision stood but perhaps justice was delivered when Ide Hill keeper Mike McKay swooped low to his left and parried the shot on to the post and away.
From here Ide Hill pushed on, limiting the chances offered to their opponent’s and creating plenty of their own with Callum Heath, Charlie James and other’s getting into the action. They scored their fourth when Kensell’s shot was blocked and winger Matt Bunn was on hand to tap home from the rebound.
A confident, assured performance and well merited win.