As soon as the teams turned up to a cold Tile Kiln, the heavens opened and the rain did its work on an already bobbly Hastings Council pitch that could’ve done with a cut, the slippery surface hindered players throughout the game, but we still witnessed some good football. Everyone worked tirelessly throughout the game, but the midfield three in particular were brilliant against the home sides’ midfield, which probably contained their best players. It was through sheer hard work and pressing which resulted in Mountfields goal, with Nick Severino getting his second goal in as many games. However a lapse in concentration allowed Ore to equalise, when they were allowed too much time and space on the ball, with the Ore attacker finishing well.
The second half came and we witnessed some real end to end football, with both teams pulling off counter attacks, the home sides chances included their left back running through at an angle but shooting straight at Marc in goal; Mountfield also piled some pressure on the Ore goal, with Leon seeing his shot well blocked by the experience Terry Payne playing at centre back, after some good work by Jon. In one or two cases were the lads could’ve created something, they were perhaps slightly guilty of holding on to the ball too long, when a quick pass could’ve set up a team mate. It was more of the same throughout extra time before the ref blew and the tie had to be settled by penalties.
The shootout went Mountfields way straight from the off, with Marc pulling off a wonderful diving save down to his left; Jake, Paul and the Crowhurst brothers all put their penalties away with lovely composed finishes, but the key point of the shootout was Ores’ second miss, which crashed against the crossbar and somehow bounced the right way off Marcs leg on the way back down, which pretty much sums up that little bit luck the side have enjoyed this season when you compare to the previous couple.
Now we set attention to next week, when we visit Tackleway in the Robertsbridge Intermediate Cup, who we know are a decent side and will be looking to get revenge for our 5-2 win against them at Mountfield.
Mountfield Man of the Match: Nick Severino
Special mention to Jan, who ran the line yesterday and volunteered to stay off so the club didn't recieve a fine. Awesome act by a man who travels down from Tunbridge Wells every week to play his part for the club, playing or helping out with the pitch.
Straight from kick-off Mountfield were on top thanks largely to Herstmonceux’s extremely slow start to the game and found themselves a goal ahead within the opening minutes of the game. The first 20 minutes or so of the game carried on being the same, with the home side rotating their players around in an attempt to at least be a bit more solid throughout, but Mountfield found themselves 4-0 up with three of the goals coming from defensive errors. After the fourth goal went in the lads performance dropped somewhat, with the fluid movement going forwards suddenly feeling somewhat stagnated; despite this the lads never really felt threatened at the back, with the home side coming close on a couple of occasions, but Marc would have easily dealt with had they been on target. Mountfield managed to grab a fifth, admittedly against the run of play, not long before half time.
The second half came and Herstmonceux upped the pressure a bit at the Mountfield end, but the lads never really felt troubled at the back, though Herstmonceux did create some good chances for themselves, most of which ending up well off target. Mountfield still looked a bit sluggish on the ball at times, but still carried on creating chances at the Ceux end, but unable to convert. The formation was changed for the last twenty minutes to accommodate the subs coming on, which invited a bit more pressure, but the visitors saw the game out and got a clean sheet for the second game in a row thanks to the back four and Marc in goal, who did well when called upon and was quick of his line throughout the game.
Next week the side travel to Tile Kiln (a home game for some our lads!) to play Ore Athletic, from the Premier Division, in the Premier Travel Cup. Ore have struggled somewhat so far, but still contain very good players, including ex-Albion and Eastbourne Boro target man, Scott Ramsey, who caused us problems a few season ago. Play like we have the past few weeks and we’re in for a competitive game of football.
Mountfield Man of the Match: Nick Severino
Perhaps it was clear from kick-off it wasn’t going to be an enjoyable afternoon, with the home side being limited to hopeful long balls downfield, whilst also having to contend with the opponents ‘game plan’ which probably led to Sean’s booking. Plus their midfielder being lucky not to go into the referees’ book after kicking a player of the ball at least twice. However after the initial twenty minutes or so the school playground antics died down, possibly thanks to Leon’s goal, after he found himself with plenty of time in the box to place his effort in the far bottom corner, a goal made all the sweeter after the goalkeepers mocking of a shanked effort earlier in the game! When the home side actually got the ball down, they did pass the ball around pretty well at times, but were either hindered by their decision making, execution or questionable offside decisions when presented with a chance to attack the Rocks goal. At the other end of the pitch, it was also a pretty uneventful affair; however their left back and left winger proved themselves to be a dangerous combination throughout the half, with the winger being presented with some decent precise passes up field, who had the pace to cause Nick problems.
The second half kicked off with the home side having made one change, with Nick Crew coming off, Leon dropping back into right back and Asif coming on at right midfield. Footballing wise it carried on being a pretty uneventful affair, but the referee was kept busy by a Rocks side who were evidently getting more frustrated, with most of their frustration being aimed at the ref, who dished out a fair few bookings. Despite feeling in control of the game, the home side were wary of the potential threat from the visitors, who contained some decent players when they actually got the ball down and played some football, as witnessed in the final ten minutes when the visitors applied some pressure at the Mountfield end; with their goalkeeper and striker swapping positions, but Mountfield held on for the win against a side who’d imploded and ended up having two players sent off, one of which literally within the last few seconds of the game to sum up their afternoon.
Overall each player can be happy with their performance; with no one putting a foot wrong all game, just at times needed to be more clinical in the final third. Next week we travel to Herstmonceux who seem to be going through a transitional period having struggled for the first few games of the season. We need to take no notice of league positions and expect our opponents next week to be fired up.
Mountfield Man of the Match: Paul Oliver
The home side went into the game, with yet more changes made at the back, with the absence of Matt Crowhurst, whose wife gave birth on Thursday, and Tim Novis; Ed Crowhurst and Ben Southworth came into centre back, fresh from their Munich marathon trip the previous weekend. The back four and midfielders in front of them looked a more solid and disciplined when compared to previous weeks and but the lads were let off on more than one occasion with the visitors coming close. Mountfield felt harshly done by when their penalty shouts were turned down when Tommy was brought down in the box and felt it was a stonewall penalty, though you could argue the outcome could have been different had Tommy not unnecessarily got on the refs back numerous times throughout the half, when not getting frustrated Tommy was playing well, showing a nice first touch and range of passing. The lads did take the lead, thanks to Jon Novis.For the start of the second half, the lads looked nervy for some reason and lacked composure, which Westfield capitalised after the visiting player had time to pick his spot and put it away with a well taken shot. If you were to be harsh, you could argue the man should have closed down a lot quicker, but it's not often at this level of football someone finishes so well from that range. The visitors took the lead after a lack of communication between Marc and Leeroi, who despite the cock up, had really good games. Mountfield had their chances to grab another goal, with the keeper doing well to stop a goal bound effort by Leon, who later was frustrated to guide his lobbed shot wide of the mark. However the home side grabbed an equaliser late on thanks to a wildly deflected effort from Paul Oliver, with the keeper stranded who could only watch the ball crawl past him into the opposite corner. Nick Severino made his comeback as a sub after a three week absence and did his usual thing in the middle of the park getting in the mix and spreading the ball well, plus young Jack Baker made his debut after signing mid-week and looked capable and more than comfortable at right back despite being a more central player.
The lads will be hoping to go one better next week when they take on Herstmonceux, who have been struggling, yet somehow managed to beat top of the table Hastings to end their 100% record.
Mountfield Man of the Match: Jon Novis
Mountfield Man of the Match: Nick Crew
Both sides made a fairly bright start to the game and had chances to take the lead, with Paul Ainsworth missing the best chance for the home side, with a header inside the area that you'd have him down to score every time, but Paul could only aim his header over the bar. Sean had another chance, who worked well to get himself through on goal, but slipped on the wet surface at just the wrong time. It was the visitors who took the lead, with the two goals in quick succession following individual errors at the back. Mountfield carried on battling away despite the set back and managed to get the score back to 2-2 by halftime, thanks to some decent goals from Matt Crowhurst and Jon Novis.
For the second half Mountfield carried on where they left off, with too many Hastings players seemingly switched off all over the field. The flow of the game was upset somewhat by the referee giving a good number of players a telling off after numerous fouls, dishing out some yellow cards to both teams in the process, a large chunk of which seemed harsh, considering that he kept his cards in the pocket for some blatant bookings for kicking the ball away in the latter stages of the game, which could have seen one or two visiting players given their marching orders. Fortunately both sides remained with eleven players, with Mountfield finding themselves 3-2 and 4-3 up during the game. However, Rangers had enough in the tank to grab two late goals and had the experience to see out the game and keep their 100% record.
Mountfield Man of the Match: Jon Novis
Mountfield Man of the Match: Leeroi McEvoy
The home side started the much stronger, whilst the visitors took time to get into their stride and after Leon stabbed home his effort early in the first half, it looked as though Mountfield might be in for a fairly comfortable afternoon, however Mountfield don't do things the easy way. Much like their opponents last week, the lads standard seemed to drop after grabbing the first goal, with some complacency creeping into some players game. Despite this, the lads still looked the better team and more likely to score, Nick Severino made a good run into the box and ended up being tripped by the defender, but no foul given, but you could argue Nick had a couple of chances to shoot before the defender made the challenge. Another key moment later on was when Leon had a chance to grab a second goal, whose looped header from a decent cross from Asif landed on the crossbar, which is probably still rattling. Despite knowing they could crank it up a few gears, the home side went into halftime having played better and confident of killing off the game in the second half.
Despite a positive halftime team talk, there was still a sense of lethargy to Mountfield's game, with Little Common winning far too many easy second balls and Mountfield soon paid the price after the visitors equalised after being gifted too much time and space near the area. The home side still dug in and created chances to regain the lead, with Jake Hillier hitting the post and Sean missing a penalty. In the latter stages of the half, there was a controversial moment when Mountfield had the ball in the net, after Leon yet again got the better of the fullback and whipped in a ball to Jake who scored with a brilliant header. Yet, there was a moment of confusion as the linesman had seemingly put his flag up, put it back down, then raised it again after Jake had scored, ensuing the typical exchange of words between the two sets up players. After what felt like a 30 minute chat between referee and linesman, the referee gave the offside decision after seemingly awarding the goal two minutes previously? Frustrating, as the home side felt Leon had ran from behind the defender and both linesman and referee weren't really up with the play, but that's football and decisions go for and against teams all the time, plus let's not forget the lads had plenty of chances to kill off the game throughout the second half.
When the final whistle came it felt like a loss and no doubt Little Common were the happier of the two teams. But despite this, we definitely have plenty of positives to draw from our first three games of the season, with the defence looking pretty solid and our attacking players looking dangerous and likely to score every game, completely the opposite to how we looked this time last year.
Mountfield Man of the Match: Ed Crowhurst
The lads went into the game fully aware of the threat Tackleway posed when attacking, yet despite this, the visitors went 1-0 up after a lapse in concentration allowed the scorer enough time in the area to place his shot past Marc. However after this Tackleway seemed to back off somewhat, which allowed Mountfield to pile on some pressure going forward, having two penalty shout waved away by the referee. The home side were awarded a penalty after the third shout, which out of the three decisions probably was the weakest one, but having already had two decent shouts dismissed, Mountfield were happy to see one finally go their way and Sean made no mistake in putting it away. The front four of Jake, Sean, Leon and Nick, kept on working hard and a combination of Leon and Nick piling on the pressure resulted in Mountfield being awarded a second penalty, which was a stonewall penalty, but there was a reasonable argument from the Tackleway lads for an infringement on one of their players in the lead up, which the referee must have missed. Once again Sean made no mistake scoring his penalty.
After the break, Tackleway started to pile on the pressure and managed to find an equaliser; despite this for the rest of the game they couldn't seem to find that finishing touch. Their No.7 in particular looked lively and had a good game, but you could see a number of Tackleway players getting more frustrated as the half wore on, with a number of fouls being committed and a couple going in the book for dissent. With the home side doing well to soak up the pressure, at the other end of the field, the lads started linking up better as the minutes ticked by and Sean Smith grabbing his third goal. The turning moment came when Mountfield scored the fourth, which deflated the visitors. After a long ball was flicked into the path of Leon, who created just enough time and space for himself put his shot past the keeper into the bottom corner. The home side managed to grab their fifth after a mazy run by super sub James Crouch, who made no mistake beating the keeper in the final few minutes.
Mountfield Man of the Match: Ed Crowhurst
In typical Mountfield fashion, poor communication meant we had to go into the game without Asif and James Crouch whose registrations hadn't been sent in on time, plus joint gaffer Ed Crowhurst away for birthday celebrations. Steve was forced to play Sean and Nick in unfamiliar positions, but we were still confident of going out there and putting in a decent performance.
It was the visitors who started out the stronger of the two, partially thanks to Bexhill's slow start to the game, but take nothing away from the lads; their movement going forwards was very good, with Leon looking lively at times on the right. It was a good ball from Matt Crowhurst and pace and movement from Leon, which saw him lose his marker and had enough time for the ball to set up nicely for him to fire it past the keeper to take the lead. However not long after, a lack of concentration in defence meant Bexhill were soon level after the Bexhill man capitalised and took his chance well. After this, it seemed to be all Bexhill, though Mountfield's movement going forward remained decent, they looked very shaky at the back and fortunatley for the visitors, Bexhill played like Arsenal where the had the ball in and around the box, but no one seemed to want to shoot and when they finally did, their effort would go high and wide off the mark or eventually dealt with by the defence.
The lads were fortunate to go into half time on level terms and Bexhill kept piling on the pressure throughout the second half, with their left winger in particular getting some good balls into the box. The home side also had some chances from set pieces, with their centre back and possibly best player on the pitch, Jake Stiles missing a header at the back post which seemed to be easier to score. But it wouldn't be too long before Bexhill's relentless pressure worked out, some poor defending from Mountfield and Bexhill scored two in fairly quick succession. Despite the poor second half, Mountfield managed to pull one back, after an error gifted James with a chance, who rounded the keeper well and slotted the ball past the defender rushing back. Ben Southworth coming off the bench injected some much needed composure and for the last ten minutes or so, the visitors seemed a bit more lively, but they always seemed vulnerable against Bexhill's attacking players, with the home side grabbing a fourth goal in the closing stages.
Despite the bright start to the game, it was disappointing to go through the second half permanently on the back foot and that sense of disappointment could be sensed in the changing room afterwards. Bexhill were quite complimentary on their twitter account, so possibly the lads were over harsh on themselves? Next week we welcome Tackleway and also look forward to having Nick Severino, Ed Crowhurst and Jake Hillier back in the squad.
Mountfield Man of the Match: Leon Pettit
Steve was forced to make more changes to the line-up, having been blessed with large numbers Wednesday evening; it was back to scraping together a side and hoping a couple more turn up as subs. With some of the lads at the amex, plus others away on their summer holidays, not forgetting Ed and Paul's shocking time management, there were more changes made to the side, most noticeably in defence. Tommy volunteered to play centre back and Crouchy returned from Croatia for his first game recovering from a chest infection. Sean and Nick (surprise surprise) turned up with niggly injuries, but both ended up playing a blinder, despite the pre-match excuses. Another addition was Nick's mate Asif who caused the Athletico defence all kinds of problems grabbing himself two goals.
There were so many goals and key moments throughout the game to even attempt a detailed report. It was very much a game to forget for both defences, with Mountfield not dealing with the ball over the top and generally allowing the visiting danger men up front through with too much ease, however Marc was as solid as ever in goal. As soon as Mountfield grabbed their sixth goal near the end of the game, they did well to see out the result, with a few of the lads evidently carrying an injury or just generally knackered, with Tommy not enjoying being matched up against their quick left winger, but playing out of position he had a decent game. Shout out to the young referee, in only his second adult game in charge, dealt with the lads moaning well, no doubt most of wouldn't fancy doing what he does, especially when we were that age!
The side can now look forward to next Saturday when we take on Premier Division side Old Hastonians, again at home, in what will possibly be our toughest game so far. Hopefully the numbers will look a bit better next week and we can give the Stones a decent game with some key players returning.
For this game, Steve had a decent amount of players to use for this game which is quite uncommon for Mountfield and able to rotate throughout the game. From the off Mountfield looked comfortable on the ball than their opponents and looked the better side, but Ninfield had some players in the ranks who looked dangerous going forward, particularly their No.10 who would deal the devastating blow later on the second half. Despite this, the home side never really got out of second gear or did they look all that threatening in the final third, creating some chances but never really troubling the visiting keeper. The first half carried on being an uneventful affair and soon came the halftime whistle, with the lads feeling confident they could crank it up another gear and find that finishing touch in the second half.
But more of the same followed in the second half, some more chances created that never really overly troubled either keeper who looked pretty solid throughout. The turning point may have been when a few decisions didn't work out for either side, with tempers somewhat flaring from a handful of players, one particular decision being the call for a Mountfield penalty after Andy got sandwiched between two Ninfield players inside the penalty area which the ref awarded a free kick. The last 20 minutes or so saw Ninfield play with more determination and started to look more dangerous as more silly mistakes crept into the home side. Disaster struck when Ninfield's best player found himself with just enough time to hit a spectacular effort, which seemed to change direction four times mid-flight, dipped over Marcs' hand and under the bar. In their determination to find the equaliser the home team found their overall play become sloppier; however Sean Smith carved out an excellent chance for himself, one on one with the keeper, but dragged his effort wide of the goal. More hopeful long balls followed, but Mountfield were unable to create another chance. The final whistle soon blew and Ninfield celebrated the win, which they'd worked hard for and never expected before the game. No doubt their youthful energy, particularly going forward will cause opposing defences problems this season. A large number of them are playing their first season in adult football and good luck to them.
As for Mountfield, we're no doubt sure had we been playing a team higher up than us we'd be capable of upping our game, maybe we were guilty of being complacent and our opponents made us pay for it. Despite some sloppy play and mistake creeping in, it wasn't a bad performance and hopefully we can put things right this Saturday.
Due to having a number of players away Steve was forced to put out a side with a somewhat makeshift defence, but despite only having two subs in Ben Waite, who made his first appearance this pre-season and Paul Oliver who arrived late, the side put in a good display against newly promoted Bexhill, who had some good young players throughout the team and were blessed with a large number of subs to rotate throughout the game.
On the whole, the lads can be pleased with the peformance and getting some minutes in, with most players getting 90 minutes. We can also take confidence in the fact that we had some key players missing and still had a good game. Andy showed his quality with a well taken goal and the fact Bexhill had two players on him throughout the game, we hope that we saw more him this season, even if he does decide to dual sign. Special mention to our makeshift centre back pairing of Jan and Leeroi, also to Tim who played at full back and showed no love with some of his tackling! Bexhill had a guy with a notepad on the sidelines, so if you're after a more detailed match report they may well publish one...
Onwards to Wednesday when we face Ninfield Village who are a new team to the ESFL so we know little about them, but will no doubt be keen on proving themselves against a team in a higher division than them. I'm expecting a decent game!
Mountfield will now be facing newcomers to the league South Coast Athletico on 12 August after initially being pencilled in to play Westfield II. After folding their third team and their second team are now effectively the old thirds, Westfield have had to reaarange some of their friendly matches, but kindly arranged for us to play South Coast instead.
Pre-season is underway, with training sessions being held every Wednesday at the pitch. Plenty of running and drills to be done as we up our fitness ahead of the start of the season in September, anyone interested are more than welcome! We have a five friendlies throughout August arranged so far, against some familiar and not so familiar faces, who will prove to be a good test in the run up to our 2017-18 campaign.
The East Sussex League season starts on Saturday 2nd September, but we are yet to find out who our first opponents will be, but in the mean time we can look forward to our games in August which are as follows; Saturday 5th August vs Bexhill AAC, Wednesday 9th August vs Ninfield Village, Saturday 12th August vs Westfield Reserves, Saturday 19th August vs Old Hastonians and Saturday 26th August vs Robertsbridge United. All games are at home.
Everyone who was at training last Wednesday should have receieved a printout from Steve with a list of these friendlies asking to confirm availability for each game. If you can do so ASAP so we know what our numbers will be like well in advance.