Ide Hill started their campaign with a comfortable win and clean sheet in their first league game for close to a year. Missing a few key first team players and following a slightly disjointed pre season, Ide Hill were still keen to aim to start with a victory against opposition they have fared well against in recent years.
The visitors handed a debut to 16 year old Lewis Wilkins in goal who, deputising for regular No 1 Mike McKay, put in a calm and assured performance and kept a commanding clean sheet on his first game.
Ide Hill started well, Kanan Fitton bursting regularly into vast open swathes of green in behind the high Crockenhill back line. In an opening half an hour where Ide Hill dominated, they couldn’t make the breakthrough, George Kensell having a follow up chalked off for offside and Fitton seeing a few good chances well saved. As a result, the visitors went into the break frustratingly level and ruing not being more clinical.
Yet a little patience and a good reset at the break saw The Hill take the lead on 55 minutes. Fitton, who caused problems all day down the sides and in behind, drove down the left and was fouled out wide on the right. Rob Ainsworth swung in the free kick which caused chaos in the 6-yard box with Phil Alteirac claiming the goal at the back post.
Ide Hill continue to press to seal the win, Fitton again barrelling down the left in similar circumstances, this time drawing a foul in the box; but Craig Jackson missed the chance to extend the lead, the keeper getting down to save his penalty.
However, Ide Hill did end up with the second goal their superiority on the day deserved, Ainsworth lining up a free kick out wide on the left, shaping to cross, and instead hitting a dipping drive that took a wicked bounce in front of the keeper and flew into the roof of the net for his first ever goal from the club.
The defence of Luke Steggle, Peter Dance-Harvey and Alteirac saw out the game comfortably, looking composed and largely untroubled throughout. Fearn and Kensell passed well and drove the team forward and Nic Capon and Burton came on from the bench, and along with the bustling Callum Heath, continued to cut through Crockenhill regularly and were unlucky not to add more.
A very satisfying start to the season, especially compared to last term when we started poorly, this sees us move into the midweek fixture with Kings Hill with confidence when we will also welcome back some more strength and depth to the squad.