Horndean boss Birmingham salutes ‘tremendous character’ after Wessex League Premier Division derby victory over Moneyfields
Michael Birmingham saluted his side’s ‘tremendous character’ after their first Wessex League PO postcode derby of 2021/22 ended with a 3-0 home win over Moneyfields.
Connor Duffin scored once in each half before Zak Willett added extra polish to the final score with a last-minute third at Five Heads Park.
It was a thoroughly deserved win with Moneys rarely threatening Deans keeper Cameron Scott, while at the other end the home front three of Duffin, Willett and Harry Jackson could have scored more.
Horndean had seen their unbeaten Wessex Premier record ended with a 2-0 home loss against Stoneham at the weekend.
But with Birmingham making just one change - Tommy Tierney coming in for Ben Anderson - he got the response he was looking for.
‘The players knew I wasn’t satisfied with Saturday and they showed tremendous character tonight.
‘We have some big, big characters in our dressing room - there’s some leaders there.
‘It was a good performance, a solid performance. I don’t think we put any pressure on the referee - we just went about our job quietly.’
Moneys boss Glenn Turnbull was forced into a tactical change due to striker Dec Seiden suffering a knee injury in the weekend win at Christchurch.
Attacking midfielder James Franklyn was pushed up front with Steve Hutchings with Matt McGlinchey, Jordan Pile and Callum Glenn in central midfield.
Though Glen did some fine work as a defensive midfielder, the front two were left isolated throughout.
Hutchings is some way off full match fitness and a few weeks out with an ankle injury, and it showed.
He had a very physical battle with his former Moneys colleague Jack Lee, but was rarely presented with a sight of goal and cut a frustrated figure at times before being replaced by Tyler Moret on 72 minutes.
‘Franklyn is a very clever player but we handled him and Hutchings well,’ said Birmingham.
‘We knew they are a different animal when Hutchings is about, but I thought my back four were superb.
‘We were full of running with a high press, but at the weekend (against Stoneham) we weren’t - it’s amazing the difference a goal can make.
‘The first half was frantic, there wasn’t much quality from either side.
‘The second goal knocked the wind out of their sails. We had a bit of luck, but the harder you work, the luckier you get!’
There had been a distinct lack of excitement before Duffin opened the scoring on 25 minutes. Taking advantage of Josh Mound’s indecision, Duffin advanced into the penalty box before firing in a shot which rebounded in off the far post.
The second half started in a livelier fashion with Horndean skipper Ash Howes booked within minutes of the restart.
After Jackson had been allowed to dribble into the visiting penalty box before hitting the post, Howes caught Pile late on.
Some referees could well have brandished a second yellow, but Declan Scehan kept Howes on the pitch.
A Deans counter-attack from a Moneys corner ended with Willett blazing a shot over, and Jackson then saw two shots turned away for corners by Tom Price as the hosts stepped it up going down the hill.
Duffin doubled the advantage on 65 minutes, but needed a large slice of good fortune - cutting in from the left, his right-foot shot took a big deflection off a Moneys defender and totally wrong-footed Price.
Deans wrapped up their victory - and 3-0 didn’t really flatter them at all on the night - late on from another swift counter.
A ball out of defence found Duffin, who in turn set Willett - in acres of space - free on the left. He scampered into the 18-yard box before lifting a shot over Price. Though the keeper got a hand to it, he couldn’t stop it from rolling in as Moneys suffered their heaviest defeat since returning to the Wessex League.
For Scott, it was a comfortable 90 minutes on as balmy a September evening as you are likely to get in England. He was forced to punch away a few corners - Franklyn volleying wide from one in the first half - but wasn’t forced into a single save of note.
The win certainly flew in the face of history – prior to the game, Horndean had only won two of the 18 Wessex Premier fixtures between the two clubs.
Horndean: Scott, Taw, Miller, Lee, Dempsey, Hookey, Howes, Tierney (Anderson, 61), Duffin, Jackson (Kimber 85), Willett.
Moneyfields: Price, Evans (Cornwell, 72), Turnbull, Birmingham, Cain, Mound, Glen, Pile (Norton, 66), McGlinchey, Hutchings (Moret, 72), Franklyn.