Moneys miss out on top spot

Steve Hutchings gave Moneyfields the lead from the spot - but the hosts could not build on that opener
Steve Hutchings gave Moneyfields the lead from the spot - but the hosts could not build on that opener

Carter: Moneys won’t surrender in play-off bid

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Moneyfields blew the chance to go top of the Wessex League when they were held to a 1-1 draw by Lymington Town at Dover Road.

Not for the first time this season, the Copnor side struggled against a team in the lower reaches of the table as three games in five days took its toll.

Miles Rutherford kept faith with the team that beat Fareham on Tuesday as they looked to extend their unbeaten run to six games.

There was a distinctly low-key start for the hardy fans who had braved the freezing conditions. The home side seemed content to play the ball around the back four and midfield and wait for the right opportunity to push forward.

Gradually they began to pick up the tempo with Stuart Green troubling the visiting defence with a series of runs from midfield.

And it was Green who had a major part in Moneys’ opening goal in the 15th minute.

Another mazy run from the new signing from Romsey was ended abruptly by Luke Ancell’s ankle-tap and Steve Hutchings nonchalantly rolled the spot-kick into the bottom corner.

If the home supporters were expecting the type of performance that had brought 23 goals in the past five games, they were to be sorely disappointed. Moneys were having more of the possession but clear-cut chances were few and far between.

A quick break saw Warren Hunt play Hutchings clear but the striker’s first touch was too heavy as he rounded the keeper and the ball ran out of play.

That was the best effort from the home side in a first half that was summed up by Rob Evans’ effort that threatened a passing train more than the opposing goal.

At the other end, the visitors failed to register a shot in target in the entire first period.

There was little improvement after the break. Lymington, who came into the match as one of the league’s form teams with three wins in their past three matches, were more than a match for their hosts a without seriously testing Dave Hook.

Substitute Jake Slater almost doubled the lead when his first touch – a shot from the edge of the area – came back off the post and Hutchings was denied by a smart double save from Stuart Williamson, but Moneys were a shadow of the team that had played so well earlier in the week.

The New Forest grabbed a point thanks to a defensive howler 10 minutes from time. Hook and Jack Lee left the ball for each other and Luke Watts was able to charge down Hook’s hurried clearance and fire the ball into the empty net.

The home launched a series of increasingly-desperate attacks in the vain hope of stealing all three points but the game meandered to the final whistle in a flurry of injury stoppages and petty free-kicks.