Ide Hill march on in Challenge Shield

Kent Intermediate Challenge Shield: Ide Hill 3 AFC Mottingham 2

Rob Piper scored a last minute winner to complete a dramatic comeback at Wrotham in the Kent Intermediate Challenge Shield.

Manager Paul McDonagh had a strong squad available and welcomed Ben Pearson back in to the defence, as well as giving Rob Piper a start up front in a 3-5-2 formation. The manager’s words were ones of warning in the changing room; Mottingham had given Ide Hill a good game earlier in the season and would not be pushovers.

And so it proved. Ide Hill slow starts have become something of a worrying tradition this season, and Saturday was no different as the home team turned in a miserable first half performance; full of errors and lacking in concentration, to almost lose the game.

Ide Hill did put together some slick attacks with Callum Heath raiding down the right flank, but it was Mottingham who took the lead after 20 minutes from a poorly defended corner. The ball ricocheting around the penalty area, finally falling to Jamie Cox 16 yards out who rifled a lovely volley in to the top left corner.

The home team were not playing well but are still usually penetrative in their attacking and almost drew level soon after, Heath once more released down the right and squaring to Matt Bunn, whose first time effort bounced back off the post in to the grateful arms of the Mottingham goalkeeper.

Things would get worse before they got better, though, a mix up from a throw in allowing Mottingham to string a few clever passes together, resulting in Joshua Reid bundling in at the back post to double the lead. Ide Hill almost and probably should have pulled one back just before the break; Rob Piper played clean through down the right and opting to square to Matt Bunn, with the pass just evading the striker and the chance disappearing as the half time whistle blew.

Following a few home truths at half time, Ide Hill were a different side after the break, pinning Mottingham back from the off and applying relentless pressure for pretty much the entire half. Ide Hill have become increasingly threatening from set pieces this year, and this avenue would provide their route back in to the game.  A Callum Heath corner was met by Jack Edmeads at the near post who headed in his second of the season to provide a life line.

Ide Hill’s gratefully deep match day squad was tested to the limits, with no less than three injuries meaning a constant reshuffling of the pack was needed throughout; both Ben Pearson and Craig Jackson going off with hamstring injuries and Phil Alteirac succumbing in the second half as well.

From there onwards it always seemed a matter of time before another breach would be made, as Mottingham retreated further and the home team pressed and probed. The equaliser came from another corner, Ben Holder curling in an inch perfect delivery for Luke Steggles to nod home his first of the season.

As the game seemingly edged towards a penalty shootout, Ide Hill snatched the win at the death; a 20-yard drive by Jack Edmeads was spilled by the home goalkeeper, allowing Rob Piper to fire in from close range for the win. The victory gives Ide Hill seven wins from nine this season, although they will need to perform much better to beat local rivals and 4th placed Chipstead next week in the league.