Rutherford relief as Moneys hang on

Moneyfields' Conor Bailey opened the scoring against New Milton
Moneyfields' Conor Bailey opened the scoring against New Milton
Gosport have taken a lift from Craig McAllister's leadership. Picture: Keith Woodland

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Moneyfields boss Miles Rutherford celebrated his side’s fourth successive Wessex League premier division victory but admitted: We did it the hard way.

The Dover Road side enjoyed a 4-3 victory over relegation-threatened New Milton, with goals from Conor Bailey, Steve Hutchings and Luke Middleton (2).

However, despite leading 3-1 at half-time thanks to the impressive Bailey, the home side were never able to shake off the challenge on the visitors.

And with Jamie Hore seeing red for a second bookable offence on 80 minutes, Moneys were made to work hard for their win on home turf, with New Milton threatening an equaliser at the end of 90 minutes of pulsating football.

It was enough to frustrate the onlooking Rutherford.

But with another three points in the bag – a result which sees Moneys move up to seventh in the league table – the boss was just happy to get another win under his belt.

‘It was a match we should have won in comfort, but we allowed them three chances and they took them all,’ said Rutherford.

‘But at the end of the day, we’ve come away with another three points, which is the most important thing.’

With Rutherford able to keep faith with the side who battered Alresford Town 4-0 at the weekend, Moneys pushed forward looking for an early goal.

And striker Hutchings so nearly added to his 19-goal tally for the season with a shot that was deflected wide of the post.

More pressure presented Conor Bailey with a chance as he took Middleton’s pass in his stride, but he hurried his shot and saw his effort go wide of the target.

Bailey, however, quickly made amends with a goal on 25 minutes, stepping up to fire a free-kick into the net from the edge of the penalty area.

Five minutes later Moneys’ lead was extended to two.

Once again, Bailey was involved as his fiercely-struck corner was helped on by Dan Gaunlett, and Hutchings applied the finish with a flick of his head from close range.

As the hosts took a breather, New Milton were a coat of paint away from pulling a goal back when Alex Moth clipped in a shot that rebounded off the post and into the arms of Moneys keeper Dave Hook.

But Moth was not to be denied moments later when he let go a shot from distance that sped into the net.

On the stroke of half-time, Moneyfields got their act together and regained their two-goal lead thanks to a swirling corner from Bailey.

It found Middleton in the box, and his deft flick saw the ball spin into the back of the New Milton net.

As the rain began to pour down in the second half, Moneyfields dampened the spirits of the visitors even more by increasing their lead.

Middleton picked up where he left off in the first half by scoring his second of the match with a header from another Bailey corner.

Hutchings was proving a real handful for a suspect-looking New Milton defence and was only denied another by keeper Rowl, who spread himself well to turn the ball past the post.

However, back came New Milton to reduce the deficit again as Tom Donaldson’s free-kick lifted over the head of keeper Hook before nestling in the back of the Moneys net.

Then on 80 minutes, and having picked up his second booking of the match, home midfielder Hore was sent off.

And with five minutes remaining, New Milton pulled another goal back from the penalty spot.

Alex Baldachino converted the spot-kick awarded for a supposed handball by Jack Lee to leave Moneyfields sweating at the end.

However, they held on to secure all three points and present the Dover Road crowd with an early Christmas present.

n In last night’s other game, Horndean were 3-0 winners at Alton Town.