Deans hailed as graft pays off... Hutchings back with bang
Horndean displayed their growing confidence with an outstanding 3-1 win over well-fancied Sholing Sports at Five Heads Park.
Michael Birmingham branded the Wessex League premier division result as ‘fantastic’.
But the Deans manager was not surprised – insisting his troops had been threatening to take a big scalp for some time.
‘Sholing couldn’t have grumbled if we had won it by more,’ said Birmingham.
‘We dictated the pace and controlled the game from first to last.
‘This result is a big weight off the shoulders of the players.
‘Some of our football was breathtaking at times.
‘A lot of praise must go to my backroom staff as well as the players who are working hard to make this happen.
‘The players are buying into what we are trying to do and starting to see the rewards.’
Joe Richardson fired Horndean into a 15th-minute lead following good work from Robbie Tambling and Benny Read.
Connor Duffin extended that advantage after half an hour with a composed finish.
The home side sealed the win after the break when Matt Smith knocked in a rebound after a Tambling header was saved.
Sholing scrambled home a consolation goal 15 minutes before the final whistle but there was no doubting the winners, much to the delight of Birmingham.
Elsewher, Steve Hutchings celebrated his return to action by scoring both goals in a 2-0 win for Moneyfields over Andover Town at Dover Road.
The talismanic striker made up for lost time after a five-game suspension with a goal in either half.
In the first period, he produced an excellent left-foot finish from a Connor Bailey cross.
And at the start of the second half he converted another cross to the near post.
‘Having one of the best strikers in our league back in the side makes a huge difference,’ said Moneys boss Dave Carter.
‘For the first time in about six weeks I was able to field a side without putting square pegs in round holes.’
The win took Moneyfields six points clear at the top of the premier division table.
Graham Rix was left frustrated after AFC Portchester were held to a 1-1 draw by basement club Verwood Town on home turf.
‘Too many players failed to perform to the level they have been recently,’ said the boss.
‘We just couldn’t seem to get going and for all our huff and puff in the second half, we didn’t work their goalkeeper enough.’
Alex Baldacchino put the Royals in front but they were pegged back just before half-time.