Moneys weather storm to continue superb run

Dan Gauntlett. Picture: Mick Young
Dan Gauntlett. Picture: Mick Young
Ryan Pennery netted for Moneyfields. Picture: Neil Marshall (171026-11)

Trophy dream is over for Moneys

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Moneyfields consolidated their top-four spot in the Wessex League premier division with a solid, if unspectacular, 3-1 win over Downton.

Goals from Mick Birmingham, Dan Gauntlett and Steve Hutchings were enough to keep the hosts’ recent superb run going – to the delight of boss Miles Rutherford.

He said: ‘With just one defeat in 20 games, teams are now trying to stop us from playing.

‘We weathered the storm again and scored an excellent free-kick to quieten them down.

‘In the second half we did enough to grind out a result with that little extra bit of class.’

In a fast and furious opening, neither team were given much time to settle on the ball.

The result was a scrappy, careless affair.

Hutchings had the first opportunity for the home side, cutting in and sending a deflected shot straight at the visitors’ goalkeeper.

Moneys were forced to make an early change on 13 minutes when Russell Rackley replaced the injured Danny Horrell.

Downton showed their threat twice in a minute, with Nick Turpin flashing a header past the post and Vince Rusher forcing a low save from home keeper Cameron Scott.

Both teams continued to struggle in the final third and chances remained at a premium.

Danny Urry burst forward into the heart of the home defence, but his shot lacked the power to trouble Scott.

The home stopper then rescued Moneys by turning Rusher’s low shot around the post.

It was a flat performance from the hosts, but they got the lift they needed after 37 minutes through veteran Birmingham.

A foul on Hutchings gave the home side a free-kick 25 yards out and Birmingham curled his effort past the wall and just inside the near post.

The home side were gifted a second goal inside the first minute of the second half.

A good move saw Gauntlett receive the ball on the edge of the area and his shot looked to be well covered by keeper Aldridge who only succeeded, though, in pushing the ball under his own crossbar.

Matt Holmes smashed a shot just past the post as Downton looked to hit back quickly.

On 63 minutes, the hard-working visitors did manage to reduce the arrears with an excellent strike from inside the area by Declan McGregor.

Moneys were now living dangerously and Turpin’s goal-bound shot was deflected wide by a defender who knew little about it.

From the resulting corner, full-back Rob Evans cleared off the line.

The home side, though, managed to relieve the pressure on 69 minutes when leading goalscorer Hutchings restored their two-goal lead.

Luke Middleton hooked a lovely ball through and Hutchings finished clinically from inside the area.

Almost immediately, he went clear again but this time the keeper saved with his legs.

Downton continued to work hard but could make no further headway against the well-organised Moneyfields’ defence.

In the final five minutes, Middleton’s overhead kick was saved on the line as Moneys looked for more goals.

Moneyfields: Scott, Evans, Wain, Lee, Horrell, Lacey, Middleton, Birmingham M, Gauntlett, Hutchings, Bailey. Subs: Rackley, Gregory, Davis, Brown.

Downton: Aldridge, Keogh, Palmer, Finnigan, Vallis, Holmes, Dorrington, Rusher, McGregor, Turpin, Urry. Subs: Coker, Munday, Lewis, Knight.

Referee: Mr D Burry