Denmead boss hoping ‘justice will prevail’ with regards to Hampshire Premier League promotion

Denmead boss Paul Goddard is hoping ‘justice will prevail’ - and his team will start the 2021/22 season in the top flight of the Hampshire Premier League.

Tuesday, 16th March 2021, 1:09 pm
Updated Tuesday, 16th March 2021, 1:13 pm
Lewis Crook, right, in action for Denmead in a pre-season friendly with Clanfield last August.

Goddard’s men have won 19 of their 29 Division 1 games since progressing into county football from the Meon Valley Sunday League in the summer of 2019.

They finished their debut season second on a points-per-game basis behind Moneyfields Reserves - only to be denied promotion because there was no relegation and promotion from the division above.

This season they were again second to Moneyfields when 2020/21 was curtailed by the FA last month.

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Now they have to play a waiting game to see if they will benefit from any close-season restructuring by the governing body.

Before that is known, though, they will be taking part in the HPL Supplementary Cup where they have been grouped together with top flight pair Paulsgrove and Clanfield and divisional rivals Harvest.

‘We welcome the opportunity to play football again,’ said Goddard.

‘It’s a little bit disappointing the season has been curtailed but we hope justice will prevail and a few of the things that have been said by the league - they stand by their word - and give those teams that have been successful or consistent over the past two seasons the opportunity to play in the Senior Division when it’s restructured for next year.

‘Ultimately, we welcome the fact that there is the opportunity to play football again because my squad is gagging for it having not played for four or five months, so we’re relishing the opportunity to do that.'

Denmead only managed nine league games in 2020/21, with their last action coming against Upham on December 12.

Moneyfields Reserves have been placed in a tasty-looking Supplementary Cup group with Senior Division trio Locks Heath, Fleetlands and Hayling United.

Like Goddard, Moneys boss Paul O'Reilly - whose side haven’t lost a league game since the start of 2019/20 - can’t wait to return to action.

‘With what’s gone on and the amount of time missed, it’s a pretty reasonable conclusion (curtailing season),’ he remarked.

‘With regards to the cup, it’s something we’ll be looking to enter, get the lads playing a bit of football again and prepare for next season - whenever that may be.

‘It’ll just be good to get out playing football again, regardless of results - it’s just a chance to get the lads back together and enjoy it.'

Harvest manager Steve Harris believes the Supplementary Cup has been ‘sort of rushed’ but is happy to take part in it.

‘I totally get the curtailing; we’re not happy because we want to play, but it just seems like the easier option without upsetting anyone,’ he said.

‘In regards to the cup competition, I just feel as if the offer on board is just sort of rushed to set up and try to keep people happy.

‘Me, as a manager, and my players are busting for it. We just want to play football; to be honest, we don’t care who it is, what standard they are - if they’re the league above us or not - we just want to play.'