Another feast for Stephen – Moneyfields’ goal king Hutchings reaches remarkable milestone

Appropriately enough as we approach the festive period, the latest (goal) feast for Stephen ensured one of the most prolific strikers in non-league football reached a stunning Moneyfields milestone.

By Simon Carter
Sunday, 19th December 2021, 1:32 pm
Steve Hutchings heads his 250th Moneyfields goal in the 4-1 win against Stoneham.

Picture: Keith Woodland
Steve Hutchings heads his 250th Moneyfields goal in the 4-1 win against Stoneham. Picture: Keith Woodland

Back on Saturday, August 11 2011, new signing Steve Hutchings grabbed his first Moneys goal on his Wessex League debut against Christchurch at Dover Road.

Yesterday, at the same ground and in another Wessex Premier fixture, and again with Rob Evans as a team-mate, but this time against AFC Stoneham, he netted his 250th goal for the club.

At this time of the year, it is traditional to talk about three Kings. At Dover Road in Copnor, Portsea Island - as anyone involved with Moneyfields will quickly tell you - there is only one King.

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Steve Hutchings celebrates after scoring his 250th goal for the club. Picture: Keith Woodland

And crown emojis were on the club’s Twitter feed on Saturday afternoon after goal king Hutchings struck his fifth in two games - following a midweek treble at Alresford, the day after his 31st birthday - and his 19th of the campaign.

His first-half brace in a 4-1 win not only brought up his new milestone, it also helped condemn Stoneham to a first away league loss of 2021/22.

Hutchings’ 250 goals have come in just 327 appearances, at a rate of 0.76 per game. That is some record, even for a former professional at this level of the non-league pyramid. But he’s scoring at an even quicker rate this term - 19 in just 14 starts, a ratio of 1.35 GPG.

Had he not missed several games through an early-season ankle injury, and a few more through working away in eastern England, no doubt Hutchings would be a lot closer to the Wessex League’s top scorer, 28-goal Brockenhurst striker Silvano Obeng.

Steve Hutchings scores his first goal against Stoneham Picture: Keith Woodland

Stoneham arrived at Dover Road having won six and drawn four of their 10 away league games this season. They had also won 11 and drawn one of their previous 12 Wessex fixtures, with only an injury-time leveller at Brockenhurst denying them 36 points out of 36.

The Purples had also dumped Moneys out of the FA Cup in August, winning 3-1 at Dover Road. But, crucially, Hutchings didn’t play that day due to injury.

The skipper fired Moneys ahead from close range before missing a simple chance to bring up the 250. Left with a virtual tap in after Dec Seiden had dummied a Josh Hazell cross, Hutchings skied his shot over the bar.

Stoneham’s let-off didn’t last long, as three minutes later James Franklyn converted a Hazell cross.

Steve Hutchings grimaces after being fouled against Stoneham. Picture: Keith Woodland

A powerful header – the sort of old school centre forward goal Hutchings regularly provides - brought up the home talisman’s 250.

Into the second half and Franklyn further extended the lead, against a side previously unbeaten in the Wessex since September 28 lest we forget, with his 17th league and cup goal of the season - no midfielder in the division has scored more.

Scott Hills bagged a Stoneham consolation before Will Wiseman was dismissed late on for violent conduct.

Moneys boss Glenn Turnbull hailed Hutchings’ achievement after a display he suggested was ‘one of our best’ of the season.

James Franklyn scores his second and Moneyfields' fourth against Stoneham. Picture: Keith Woodland

‘It’s not quite Ronaldo, but it’s good,’ he stated regarding his captain’s Dover Road goals record.

‘With Steve, you know what you’re going to get, and you will always get goals.

‘He seems to be relishing his position as something of a figurehead.’

While a lot of Hutchings’ former Moneys colleagues followed ex-boss Dave Carter to Portchester last summer, he remained loyal to the club.

‘He’s always been a big player (for Moneyfields) but he’s had big players around him like Brett Poate, Sam Pearce, (Lewis), Fennemore,’ said Turnbull.

‘Now he’s picked up the mantle of being leader of the group, he seems to be relishing that. Being a proper captain is about more than just putting an armband on.

James Franklyn celebrates his second goal against Stoneham. Picture: Keith Woodland

‘As an ex-pro he brings a different mentality. He works hard in the warm-up, his warm-up shirt is never bone dry, and that rubs off on the rest of the players. It’s harder when Steve’s not around for other players to mimic that.

‘We’d like him to train more often, but I think every manager he’s ever had has said that! But I know he’s been working away, building up his business.’

Had Hutchings not missed so many games in his Moneys career through suspension, he could well be within touching distance of a triple century of goals.

Turnbull revealed Hutchings has sat out 56 games as a result of numerous bans, the equivalent of more than a full season. And with his scoring ratio of 0.76, that equates to an extra 43 goals!

Since being appointed Moneys captain ahead of this season, though, there have been no red cards or suspensions.

‘His reputation still precedes him,’ said Turnbull. ‘He gets roughed up by teams, he gets kicked, and he doesn’t get much protection from referees. He gives as good as he gets, but - touch wood - he’s controlled himself well so far.’

Hutchings (15) and Franklyn (14) have dominated Moneys’ scoring in Wessex action this season with 64 per cent of the team’s league goals between them.

Left wing-back Elliott Turnbull is actually the third highest scorer with four, followed by strikers Seiden and Josh Bailey with three apiece.

‘It would be nice to share the goals around a bit,’ said Glenn Turnbull. ‘But if Franko and Hutch carry on scoring and we win more games than when we lose, I won’t be complaining.’

This is Steve Hutchings’ seventh season with Moneyfields in the Wessex League. His other four campaigns at the club - including the two pandemic-shortened ones in 2019/20 and 2020/21 - were spent in the Southern League.

According to the FA’s Full Time website, Hutchings has netted 164 of his 250 Moneys goals during his time in the Wessex League.

His best season came in 2014/15 when he belted 42 goals in 38 games in all competitions, including four in a 6-1 trouncing of Fareham and hat-tricks in league wins against Bournemouth Poppies and Whitchurch.

The player shows no signs of slowing down his incredible scoring record. In February 2020, Hutchings celebrated his 300th Moneys appearance with his 217th goal against Mangotsfield at Dover Road. His double against Stoneham, therefore, means he has now netted 33 goals in his last 27 league and cup outings for the club.

Moneyfields defend a Stoneham free-kick Picture: Keith Woodland
Moneyfields' Josh Hazell gets a cross in. Picture: Keith Woodland