Moneyfields talisman Steve Hutchings passes 20-goal Wessex League seasonal milestone for fifth time in Premier victory at Amesbury

Steve Hutchings passed the 20-goal Wessex League goals mark for the fifth time in his career as Moneyfields extended their unbeaten run.

By Simon Carter
Sunday, 3rd April 2022, 11:47 am
Steve Hutchings has now scored 21 Wessex League goals in 2021/22 in just 19 starts plus one as a sub. Picture: Keith Woodland
Steve Hutchings has now scored 21 Wessex League goals in 2021/22 in just 19 starts plus one as a sub. Picture: Keith Woodland

The talismanic figure has missed huge chunks of the 2021/22 season, mainly through injuries but also working away after setting up his own business.

His weekend start at Amesbury was only his 19th in Moneyfields’ 37th Wessex Premier game of the campaign, with one sub appearance.

But his first half double - in a 4-0 victory - took his league tally to 21, therefore becoming the ninth player to hit 20 top flight Wessex goals this term. But no-one has a better goals per game record than he does.

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This season’s achievement follows on from previous prolific seasons at step 5 - 28 goals in 2011/12, 21 in 2012/13, 19 in 2013/14, 37 in 2014/15 and 24 in 2016/17.

In all competitions, Hutchings has scored 28 times in 23 starts plus one off the bench. He is the only player in double figures in the Premier Division to have scored at more than a goal a game (AFC Portchester’s Kieran Roberts scored 15 times in 14 starts plus one as a sub).

‘It’s one of my regrets of the season,’ said Moneys boss Glenn Turnbull.

‘Steve’s had injuries, he’s been working away - he’s put his heart and soul into setting up his business.

‘He’ll know Father Time is catching up with him - not massively, though.

‘At times this season he hasn’t been brilliant, apart from scoring his goals. But I suppose when you’re doing that …

‘I know a lot of Wessex managers would like a striker who scores a goal every 65 minutes or so.

‘He is still one of the best, if not the best, strikers in this league.

Turnbull admits ‘it’s hard to keep motivating the team’ as the end of the season fast approaches, even with a Portsmouth Senior Cup final date with Gosport Borough on the fixture list.

Despite that, Moneys’ 4-0 win at Amesbury was their eighth league game without defeat. And a previously leaky defence has now conceded just two goals in six Wessex fixtures - and one of those was a soft penalty at AFC Portchester.

Moneys are now above Baffins Milton, who in late January were seven minutes away from taking over at the top of the table but who have now slithered down to ninth.

Joe Briggs and Dec Seiden - with a fine second half lob - were also on target in Wiltshire. Both players were scoring their 13th league and cup goals of the season for Moneys (Briggs also scored once for Portchester).

‘It was another dog of a pitch,’ reported Turnbull. ‘Like I used to see with Hilsea in the Hampshire League in the early 90s.

‘It was a strange time - I got sunburnt on my head and I was also freezing cold!’

The margin of victory could easily have been greater against the side rock bottom of the table with just 10 points to their name. Briggs saw a shot hit Hutchings on the line and rebound out, Tom Cain hit the post and Seiden’s long range effort thudded against the underside of the bar.

At the other end, Cain preserved Moneys’ latest clean sheet - their fifth in seven games if a PSC win over Locks Heath is included - by clearing a shot off the line.

Away from the Wessex, Turnbull admitted a sense of ‘what might have been’ when seeing that Littlehampton had reached this season’s FA Vase final.

Moneys were beaten late on by the Sussex club in last October’s first round proper; after coming from 0-2 down to level, they conceded an 82nd minute winner.

‘We were in the ascendency,’ he recalled. ‘Then they got a silly goal on the break. They will see it differently, but I thought we should have beaten them.

‘Football is full of ‘what ifs’, isn’t it?’

Littlehampton will now meet Newport Pagnell at Wembley after the latter defeated Moneys’ Wessex League rivals Hamworthy on penalties.

Turnbull can easily sympathise with the Hammers - his US Portsmouth side lost on spot-kicks at the same stage of last season’s tournament to Binfield.

‘If there’s anyone who knows how Tim Sills (Hamworthy boss) is feeling it’s me,’ said the Moneys boss.

‘I texted him saying no matter how much it hurts at the moment, it will hurt more on Sunday and more on Monday. When the radio stations aren’t phoning you up any more, it will hurt then.’