Locks Heath shatter Moneyfields Reserves’ two-year, 32-game unbeaten Hampshire Premier League run
Moneyfields Reserves’ two-year unbeaten run in the Hampshire Premier League is over.
They travelled to Locks Heath having won 30 and drawn two of their 32 league matches since being admitted to Division 1 ahead of the 2019-20 campaign.
After winning 22 out of 24 games in the second tier across the two pandemic-scarred seasons, Moneyfields were granted promotion. There they hit the ground running, winning their first eight Senior Division fixtures.
But the unbeaten run was ended in a 2-0 loss in what was Locks’ first home game of 2021/22 after eighth successive away trips.
Failing to score for the first time in their HPL career, Moneys went down to second-half goals from Jordan Whiteley and sub Ryan Bath.
Locks boss Dave Fuge had told The News last week that he believed Moneys - managed by his one-time US Portsmouth colleague Lee Mould - were already champions-in-waiting.
‘It’s a long old season and I suppose you can never say never,’ declared Fuge, ‘but I can’t see them dropping many points to be honest.’
After a few weeks battling with unavailability issues, Locks fielded the strongest squad of the season against Moneys - and were rewarded with a result that gives the chasing pack renewed hope.
‘It was the best squad we’ve had out by a country mile,’ said Fuge. ‘You could see that. It was absolutely deserved (the win), it could have been three or four. I don’t think they got near us in the second half.
‘If they are the favourites and we can do that … it gives us a lot of confidence.
‘And we were still missing two of our best players, Simon Stone and Ben Chambers.’
After a tight first half, Locks went ahead when Connor Johnson, on the left, set up Whiteley to score from 15 yards.
Johnson was also involved in the second goal around the 75-minute mark, a move which ended with Bath lobbing ex-Locks keeper Joe Hunt.
‘That made it a bit sweeter,’ Fuge remarked. ‘Joe’s a good lad but he left us to join Moneyfields, so you have to laugh when that happens!’
At the other end, Locks keeper Owen Craig - formerly of Moneyfields - kept his side’s first clean sheet of the season.
Moneys boss Mould was without Chad Cornwell, Josh Bailey and Jake Knight, all with the first team squad in the FA Vase. In addition, Ollie Long, Toby Toman and Ronnie Clark were all missing too.
Against that, striker Mig Dark - a prolific scorer at Wessex 1 level with USP and Hythe & Dibden - got his first competitive minutes since the curtain-raising win at Paulsgrove.
Mould stated: ‘With the squad we took there, I would have been disappointed to have got only a point.
‘Fair play to Locks Heath, they pretty much bossed the game. I don’t think their keeper had a save to make.
‘There are ways of losing games … what’s non-negotiable is 100 per cent effort and giving it a real go. We didn’t lay a glove on them.
‘Perhaps a bit of complacency had set in. You could sense it in the warm-up.
‘It might be a kick up the backside that we need. We were tested in our first game at Paulsgrove but after that it had been pretty much plain sailing.
‘I’m new to this league and there seems to be two leagues within one. The top sides will give you a game and if you are not at it, you can lose - as happened at the weekend - but the lower ones … there’s differing standards, let’s say.’
Moneys are back in action on Wednesday, hosting Denmead - now just three points behind them in the table - in an attractive HPL Cup tie at Dover Road (7.45pm).
‘I’ll be looking for a significant improvement,’ insisted Mould. ‘There will be changes, we’ll look to shake it up a bit.’
Callum Trevaskis (2) and Charlie Crook netted as Denmead won 3-2 at rock bottom Lyndhurst to slice the gap on Moneys.
Lyndhurst have now lost their last 24 Senior Division games, a run stretching back to March 2020 before the first national lockdown was introduced.