Ide Hill followed up their limp up exit to Welling Park in the Inter Regional Cup with a tight, penalty shootout loss to more Kent County Division One opposition in the form of Belvedere FC in the first round of the Kent Shield.
Once more, when boasting a strong squad of players, Ide Hill flattered to deceive in the first half, matched physically by a powerful and direct Belvedere side, the game was a scrappy affair which allowed the hosts to settle comfortably into the game.
Harry Cronin, who caused problems in the first half with his quick feet in the number 10 position for Belvedere gave them the lead after 30 minutes. An Ide Hill goalkeeper kick deflected off a Hill defender to Cronin 25 yards out, who side stepped a challenge and fired in to the bottom corner from distance to give Belvedere something to hold on to.
Ide Hill created half chances in the first half and seemed puzzled as to how they could be so strong one week and relatively ineffective the next, Ide Hill’s Man of the Match, George Kensell, and Callum Heath helped turn the game from the bench in the second half with their added intensity and athleticism, driving Ide Hill back into the game as they pressed for an equaliser.
Belvedere seemed like they were tiring slightly, and chances began to fall to the visitors, Matt Bunn nodding a header just wide of the post when well placed and numerous corners narrowly missing a finishing touch.
A clever pass over the left full back pulled Ide Hill back into the game, the ball lifted into Jackson’s path from Sam Heasman, the midfield turned in the box and drew a handball from the Belvedere defender. Jackson stepped up and rolled his penalty in for his fourth of the season and restored the feeling that Ide Hill would press on and win from here.
Key chances came and went in the final period though, with the visitors ultimately made to rue their profligacy in front of goal; Jackson shot wide when Heath and Kensell combined to open up the defence, before a similar interchange had Shaun Boyle clean through, but his half volley sailed over the bar.
Extra time crept towards penalties as both sides tired in the late summer heat, and it was Belvedere who dominated the shootout, scoring all four of their penalties, with Ide Hill only managing 1 in return to disappointingly limp out of a cup in which they reached the semi-final last year.
Ide Hill continue their worrying Jekyll and Hyde season, imperious in the league and decidedly shaky in the cup competitions; they will need to master these inconsistencies quickly as they now have a run of tougher league fixtures against some of the stronger sides in the division, travelling to 4th placed Fleetdown next Saturday with the hope of resuming their stronger league form and performances.