Kensell brace not enough to rescue Hill

Kent County Football League Premier Division: IDE HILL 2 STANSFELD O&B 3

Ide Hill twice fought back level through George Kensell, but ultimately went down by the odd goal to Stansfeld O&B, on a busy day down at Camberwell Lane, where a good crowd and collection of ground hoppers witnessed an entertaining game and the production of the club’s first ever programme.

Unfortunately, the Ide Hill squad was thin on the ground again, as it had been against Staplehurst last week, with our regular goalkeeper and four centre backs unavailable to start the game, Ide Hill were up against it from the off in boggy and wintry conditions, regardless of the side’s positions in the league table.

Stansfeld may find themselves near the foot of the table, but results suggest they have lost a number of narrow games, and with new management and players, coupled with the threadbare Hill squad, posed a much sterner test than they had in the 3-0 win in the early season. Ide Hill Manager, Paul McDonagh, lamented the circumstances of the squad: “It was a good game, a good battle, the pitch was boggy and took its toll physically and we really missed our injured players today at the back, it was a little too tough for the players available, we needed a bigger squad today”.

So it proved early on, Ide Hill going one behind inside 20 minutes, the two physical, tall Stansfeld forwards caused problems all game, and good movement from a knock down off a throw in left the impressive Macey Malyon to lash in from 15 yards.

Ide Hill struggled to impose themselves in that first half, with the pitch, poor passing and the approach of Stansfeld unsettling the hosts in a relatively even game, McDonagh cut a frustrated figure on the sideline: “Our passing was poor first half, we couldn’t get going until 40 minutes, their first goal was well worked, though”.

Ide Hill rallied after the break and turned in a much better performance, and pulled level on 50 minutes, Craig Jackson swung a deep cross over from the right where MOTM George Kensell rose and bravely nodded in to the roof of the net for a deserved equaliser.

Ide Hill were in the ascendancy, but had the wind knocked out of their sails on the hour when a freak goal gave Stansfeld the lead again, a harmless Frankie Beale long ball squirming under the goalkeeper and in to the goal for 2-1.

Ide Hill, though, have shown good courage and battling instincts through the season and once more looked to haul themselves level in a half where they had much of the play and chances, pulling level once more when a Jackson shot was blocked in the box, the ball falling to Kensell once more and he arrowed in to the corner for his fifth of the season.

But it was not to be, Stansfeld nicked the win on 75 minutes, a long deep cross was met with confusion in the Ide Hill defence and Billy Shinners was left to tap in to an open goal from 6 yards for the winner. McDonagh reflected on what might have been at the final whistle: “We were much better in the second half, I felt we dominated, but conceded two really poor goals I don’t think we would have with a full squad, very frustrated, but well done to Stansfeld”.

And he praised the efforts of his squad in drawing level twice in tough circumstances: “George played really well, a terrier in the midfield who took his chances and might have had a hat-trick with a great long range effort in the second half. Jack Edmeads played well coming back from a long injury, and thanks to Ben Holder who stood in at the back and worked hard against a physical front line”

Ide Hill have slid in to somewhat patchy form of late and will be looking to respond and get back on the winning trail when they visit local rivals Crockenhill next week, looking to go in to the new year on the back of some positive results. Big thank you to all of those who came and watched today, special thanks to the 15 or so ground-hoppers who made the trek, one particularly hardy soul walking 90 minutes from Sevenoaks station – the debut match programme was well received and we will now do this every home game, looking to expand and improve the content and include more advertisements to look to grow our little club.