Ide Hill missed out on the chance to advance to the Kent Shield final by squandering a two goal lead in a thrilling encounter with South East Athletic.
Welcoming Joe Baker back into the defence after a lengthy absence through injury and Jamie Holder deputising in goal, Ide Hill started fast, scoring after a minute; Ben Holder floated in a corner which Jack Edmeads met and headed into the far corner for his 6th of the season. And they quickly doubled this lead after 5 minutes, Matt Bunn tricking his way into the box; his clever centre across the 6 yard line was turned into the South East Goal by a defender for 2-0.
South East pulled one back in a frantic opening 20 minutes through Darren Wynne before Callum Heath burst down the right wing, cut into the box and squared for George Kensell to fire in from close range. Ide Hill were attacking with real menace in the opening half, cutting through South East with every attack, Kensell drew a good save from the South East keeper when through on goal and Grant rounded the goalie only to see his effort cleared off the line.
South East had a goal disallowed following a scramble in the box before reducing the deficit to 3-1 with a goal from Barry Ryan. They then narrowed the lead further still with a second for Ryan after 35 minutes. A set piece brought Ide Hill’s 4th after 40 minutes, Edmeads and Jackson causing confusion in the box before Jackson rifled beneath the goalkeeper for 4-2 and his 12th of the season. Ide Hill couldn’t stem the bleeding at the other end though, conceding again through Padraig Biggane just before the half to take the teams in to the break at 4-3 following a breakaway goal to end an entertaining first half.
The home team made a number of changes early in the second half regarding shape and personnel in an attempt to add extra impetus, but it was South East who started the stronger, equalising after an hour to bring the scores to 4-4, with Ryan with his second of the afternoon.
Unfortunately, it was South East who then accelerated away in the subsequent period, scoring 2 goals in quick succession to take the score to 6-4, running in behind the tiring defence to pull away as the game entered its final third, Ryan completing his hat trick and Wynne netting his second.
Ide Hill did pull one back in the final minutes, a Jackson cross headed into the South East goal by the defender but it proved to be too little too late, as South East rode out the final few minutes to see them into the final where Staplehurst await.
Ide Hill now have only the league and the Sevenoaks Cup to focus on, in which they meet Southborough next week hoping to right the wrongs of the weekend, put in a performance reflective of their abilities and to get their heads straight ahead of a crucial run in, in which they are due to meet South East again.
Ide Hill Team: J Holder, Heath, James, Baker, B Holder, Driver, Kensell, Jackson, Edmeads, Grant, Bunn. Subs: Boyle, Wright, O’Reilly, S Heasman, J Heasman