Former club captain Charlie Searle back at Baffins Milton Rovers for Wessex League Premier Division title race run-in

Charlie Searle has returned to Baffins Milton Rovers.

By Simon Carter
Monday, 31st January 2022, 11:55 am
Updated Monday, 31st January 2022, 12:10 pm
Goalkeeper Charlie Searle has returned to Baffins Milton Rovers. Picture: Martyn White
Goalkeeper Charlie Searle has returned to Baffins Milton Rovers. Picture: Martyn White

And Rovers boss Shaun Wilkinson expects to have the Hawks goalkeeper available for the Wessex League Premier Division title race run-in.

Searle was Baffins’ club captain last season before returning to Westleigh Park in the summer as back-up to Ross Worner.

Searle got a chance to impress in October when Worner was injured in an FA Cup tie at Torquay. But after coming on as a sub at Plainmoor and playing the 90 minutes in the replay, Searle found himself back on the bench as Hawks brought in Cambridge United keeper Will Mannion on loan.

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Searle’s next appearance for Hawks was actually as a late sub playing outfield in the FA Cup defeat at Charlton Athletic in early November.

His last competitive match in goal was for Hawks in the 2-0 Hampshire Senior Cup loss at Eastleigh last month.

Searle will go straight into the Baffins team for Tuesday’s Wessex Premier League trip to Cowes Sports, replacing Konrad Szymaniak.

‘We’ve always kept in touch with Charlie, he’s our groundsman,’ said Wilkinson.

‘He approached me saying Havant wanted him to get some games and would I be interested.

‘Listen, you need competition for places at any level and we’ve only really had Konrad this season.

‘Konrad has been absolutely fantastic, but he’s still very young and he will be able to learn from Charlie.

‘Charlie might be a bit rusty to start with but he will bring good distribution, good athleticism, he’s a good talker.

‘It’s good to be able to bring in an experienced player like him at this stage of the season.

‘We’ve had some poor results but we’re still only five points off the top with a game in hand (on leaders Horndean).

‘We brought in Craig McAllister for a bit of experience, we’ve got Ed Sanders, Lee Molyneaux, Alex Przespolewski … Charlie’s another experienced player.’

Szymaniak has played in all but two of Baffins’ Wessex League games this season. Teenager Bailey Neil was in goal at Amesbury in October while Worthing youngster Gentjan Poda answered an SOS to face Alresford last month.

Szymaniak kept six clean sheets in his first eight league appearances of the season, but has conceded 17 goals in his last 10 matches, including eight in his last two - 5-4 (v Fareham) and 3-0 (v Portland) losses.

Searle played in 11 of Baffins’ 13 league games in the pandemic-wrecked 2020/21 Wessex League season.

He had previously played in the Wessex for AFC Portchester and Fareham.