Moneyfields’ midweek friendly better ‘than watching Champions League and eating Nando’s’ ahead of tough Wessex League Cup trip to free-scoring Shaftesbury

Moneyfields boss Glenn Turnbull has a depleted squad to select from as he bids for a place in the semi-finals of the Wessex League Cup.

By Simon Carter
Thursday, 9th December 2021, 11:25 am
Tyler Moret (blue) played 45 minutes for Moneyfields in a friendly against the Royal Navy at HMS Temeraire on Tuesday.
Picture: Chris Moorhouse
Tyler Moret (blue) played 45 minutes for Moneyfields in a friendly against the Royal Navy at HMS Temeraire on Tuesday. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

Moneys make the long trek to north Dorset to face a free-scoring Shaftesbury side for the right to face lower division Folland Sports in the last four.

The likes of Matt McGlinchey, Josh Hazell, Josh Bailey, Harry Birmingham and Liam Kyle are unavailable. Captain Steve Hutchings could also be absent as he might have to work in Northamptonshire.

In addition, Chad Cornwell, Josh Mound, Mig Dark and Adam Cripps are injured. The latter picked up a knock during Tuesday’s hastily-arranged friendly with the Royal Navy on the artificial pitch at HMS Temeraire.

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That game was organised after Moneys’ home Wessex League clash with Horndean was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.

The friendly - which saw striker Tyler Moret get 45 minutes under his belt as he recovers from surgery - gave the squad match practice on a 3G ahead of playing on a similar surface at Shaftesbury.

Turnbull, though, expects this weekend’s pitch to be much quicker than the one at Temeraire. Shaftesbury have certainly taken to their new surface, belting 37 goals in only eight home league games - including 10 against Hythe and nine against Christchurch and Amesbury.

Horndean recently became the first Wessex Premier club to reach a century of competitive goals in 2021/22, and Shaftesbury will follow them if they score twice against Moneys.

So far, the Rockies have netted 98 times in only 29 league and cup matches. Five players have reached double figures, with Asa Phillips leading the way on 22.

Phillips was a summer signing by new boss Ollie Cherrett, after netting 35 goals in 35 games in the last two pandemic-shortened seasons for Merley Cobham Sports.

Ash Pope and Luke Delaney - two players Cherrett signed from his former club Christchurch - have netted 15 and 11 times respectively. Ex-Wimborne Town striker Aidan Shepherd (12) and former Hamworthy United and Bashley forward Cameron Beard (11) are other goal threats.

Moneyfields are still in three cups - they also remain in the Portsmouth Senior and the Russell Cotes - and Turnbull said: ‘Any cup final would be nice to get to.

‘We will be treating Shaftesbury as seriously as you would expect, with the players we have available.

‘I thought it was important to get some minutes into them on Tuesday. It was better than them sitting at home watching the Champions League and eating Nando’s.

‘I went down to the ground (Dover Road) at 11.30 in the morning and started laying the changing room out, buying the bananas etc. I was messaging Birmy (Horndean boss Michael Birmingham) saying it would definitely be on.

‘Then the storm came in and I was watching the CCTV the builders have got there, and the pitch turned into a swimming pool in front of my very eyes. It was unbelievable.’

The postponement left Moneys having only played 15 Premier games, the fewest of any club in the Wessex top flight and nine fewer than rock bottom Hythe.

Turnbull, though, is not concerned at any fixture backlog. ‘We’ve only got one Tuesday game in the first two months of next year,’ he stated. ‘There’s lots of weeks to get games in if we have to.’

While Folland v Moneys or Shaftesbury is one Wessex League Cup semi final, the other will see AFC Portchester face either Fareham or Downton, who meet next Tuesday at Cams Alders.