Ide Hill made the long journey down to the coast on Saturday afternoon and returned empty handed after losing to New Romney.
The visitor’s squad was depleted and Ide Hill finished the game with only one recognised defender on the pitch, yet they plugged away gamely throughout and on another day might have come away with something.
Ide Hill started slowly and were in real danger of sleepwalking to an early deficit as New Romney broke in behind and missed some good chances. However, as ever, Ide Hill carried a real threat on the break. Jamie Fearn was breaking well from midfield, the clever hold up play and strong running of Kanan Fitton was causing problems and Sam Heasman and Shaun Boyle imposed themselves well in the opening half.
But Ide Hill fell behind on 25 minutes, New Romney broke down the right, the winger beating men into the box and pulling back from the by line with Warren Smith bundling in the first goal. The game was proving pretty end to end at this point, New Romney looking threatening, But Ide Hill counterattacking well; Heasman found himself some space in the box after one such break but shot just wide on his left foot.
The Hill lost key defender Ben Pearson just before the break to injury as well as the strong and silky play of Jamie Fearn which didn’t help proceedings. Yet Ide Hill were arguably the better side in the second half, or certainly saw more of the ball. A key moment arrived on the hour; Ide Hill broke down the left, the ball was swung into the box and Heasman met it with a bullet header from 12 yards that looked like it was in, but the New Romney keeper pulled off a stunning reflex save to beat away the equaliser and perhaps win the game right there.
Ide Hill Man of the Match Kanan Fitton, who carried the fight impressively and drove at the Romney defence throughout, also saw a powerful header skim the top of the bar as the visitors pushed for a leveller. Yet the weakened and tiring squad ultimately buckled when chasing an elusive goal, hesitancy in the middle of the field saw Casey Williams race through and slot in the second for the game.
An away trip to New Romney is always a tricky assignment, Ide Hill will be looking to get some key players back next week and bounce back in the cup when they host Ashford.