Thursday, 30 April 2015

Mountfield United 0 v 0 Hawkhurst United

Tuesday 28th April 2015
The Clappers, Robertsbridge
Robertsbridge Charity Junior Cup Final
Hawkhurst United won 4-3 on penalties
Admission by programme: £2.00
Attendance: 120 (estimate)
Match Rating: 3

For this evening's early evening kick off, there was an interesting looking game in prospect, with a game between two of the top sides in the East Sussex League Division One, and with some silverware at stake.

I have visited The Clappers several times over the last few seasons, and it makes a nice venue for an early evening game, with its quiet, rural setting wedged between an enclosed cricket field with an attractive pavilion and a row of trees. A very sensible entrance fee included a four page programme, providing a welcome message, league tables, predicted line-ups and the routes of both clubs to the final, and all proceeds would go to local charities.

Having completed their league campaign, Hawkhurst have sealed the title and promotion to intermediate football, with 12 wins and four defeats from their 16 games. Mountfield have a game left to play, and are in third place with 32 points, gained from ten wins and two draws, but are level on points with second placed Bexhill AAC, the two teams meeting on Saturday and with Mountfield needing to win by three goals to claim the runners up spot and with it promotion. When the two sides met in the league, there were clear winners each time - Mountfield winning 3-0 in January, with Hawkhurst winning 5-0 last month.

To reach this evening's final, Mountfield won 1-2 at Ticehurst II, received a walkover, won at St Leonards Social 1-3 and finally winning 3-2 at home to Peasmarsh United. Hawkhurst, who won this competition last year, have received home ties throughout the competition, beating Burwash 3-2, Magham Down 12-1, Northiam 3-2 and finally Battle Baptists II 4-0.

On a sunny evening, and with a surprisingly large crowd in attendance, this was very much a game of two halves - the first, entertaining and with some good goalscoring chances created, the second dull with barely a chance created by either side. On 7 minutes, the Mountfield keeper fumbled at the ball as it was floated across goal but fortunately for him went just wide, whilst on 13 minutes it was the Hawkhurst keeper's turn to make a mess of claiming the ball, this time squirming out of his hands and rolling back towards goal but he just managed to retrieve it before the onrushing striker could bundle the ball in. On 23 minutes, afollowing a terrific diagonal pass over the defence, the Mountfield forward saw his shot from the edge of the area at a slight angle cleared off the line. An unbelievable miss occured on 39 minutes, when a ball over the top caused uncertainty between Mountfield defenders and the keeper, allowing the Hawkhurst player a clear shot on goal, but incredibly he screwed his shot wide of goal. They had almost as glaring a chance again on the stroke of half time, when the Mountfield keeper missed a cross high over the six yard line, but the ball was skewed high and wide from close range at the far post. Mountfield went straight down the other end and after the ball was played down through the middle, the keeper came out to meet the ball but the striker got his touch in first but the ball dropped just wide of the far post.

The second half really was a damp squib, and despite extra time being advertised if the scores were level after 90 minutes, the match went straight to penalties due to the fading light. After both teams scored their first two penalties, Mountfield's third was saved, but Hawkhurst having their fourth saved meant it was all square with one penalty of the initial five left to take. Mountfield's fifth was ballooned over the bar, and Hawkhurst scored their fifth to see the holders retain the cup.

No comments: