Ide Hill put in a ruthlessly efficient performance to dispatch Farnborough on a crisp wintry Saturday afternoon in Sevenoaks, avenging their 4-5 reverse against the same team from October whilst registering their first victory at their new home in the process.
The game was supposed to be at Farnborough, but due to the grim weather through the week the match was switched to The Bourne Stadium’s 4G pitch at the last minute to use the excellent facilities, and the result was a perfect day for football and an entertaining match full of goals and action at both ends.
Manager Paul McDonagh was really happy to register the first win of 2020: “It was great to get the result and reverse the defeat against them from earlier in the season. We looked very dangerous going forward and had some high-quality passing patterns in the first half, which is where all of our goals came from. The second half was sloppier, and we had to rely on a brilliant performance from Mike McKay, ably assisted by Ben Pearson and Luke Steggle in our defensive work. Overall it was good though and I’m delighted with the three points”.
Ide Hill began the game with a wariness of the visitors having put five past them in the autumn, Luke Steggle keeping a close eye on danger man Mason Horne who scored four in the reverse and the strong back line of Ben Pearson, Joe Baker and Phil Alteirac worked hard to nullify the dynamic threat of the powerful and quick pair of Farnborough strikers.
At the other end, Ide were already clicking in to some short burst rapid exchanges that were opening Farnborough up; the opening goal was threatened a couple of times before it arrived, some slick passing from the back and through midfield found Barry Ryan wide right; he clipped in a precise cross which the arriving George Kensell coolly nodded home for his 7th of the season, already surpassing his total for last season.
Farnborough were threatening at the other end and wanted to play football all over the pitch; McKay was called in to action in the first half a number of times to come out and smother danger situations in what would become an increasingly busy afternoon for him. However, at the other end, Ide Hill were always threatening and the second arrived after 30 minutes, another incisive break found its way to the crafty Columb Grant, who slid square across the box for his strike partner Ryan, who rifled back across the keeper into the far corner from 20 yards for a more comfortable lead and his 12th goal in a brilliant debut season.
They could have gone in to the break further in front after another mesmeric exchange of passing involving the forwards and midfield, Grant cut back for Kensell who fired in to the corner, however, Ryan was called offside for allegedly un-sighting the Farnborough goalkeeper.
The second half followed a similar pattern; Farnborough having a great deal of the ball, but Ide Hill always threatening on the break and the third arrived on the hour, Ryan adding his second assist of the day with a lovely back heel on the counter attack for Callum Heath who steadied himself from 20 yards and curled a lovely effort inside the bottom right corner for his fifth of the season and a well worked goal that felt decisive in relation to the result.
Ide Hill became disjointed in the final period, a number of changes and injuries saw the rhythm deteriorate and Farnborough had even more of the ball and play, McKay came to the fore in a stunning second half performance, making no fewer than ten excellent saves as the visitors tried desperately for a way back in to the game against the tired legs of the Hill, securing a thoroughly deserved MOTM performance in the process.
Ide Hill then went and grabbed the next goal after 70 minutes, an attack down the left fell to Ben Holder who threaded a fine pass square to Grant in the box who steadied himself and fired in to the roof of the net to cap an impressive performance and give him his eighth goal of the term.
Farnborough did pull back a consolation on 85 minutes, Mason Horne rifling in from 25 yards to rip away a clean sheet McKay and the defence had worked hard for, but ultimately a fine result and a good return to winning ways in the new year.
McKay was happy to get the win and pleased with his brilliant performance: “I thought the game could have gone either way at times but we were more clinical in our finishing, we were sound for most of the game at the back as well. I was happy to help get the win, I think it was my best game of the season so far, I was disappointed not to get the clean sheet, but the three points are more important”.
Ide Hill stay in fourth position and cement their standing towards the top of the table, with a 5 point gap now back to fifth, although The Hill have played more games than most. Next week they travel to another top half side in Tudor Sports, who sit in 6th position.