REVEALED: The half-time team talk that inspired Moneyfields’ astonishing recovery
MONEYFIELDS joint caretaker boss Gavin Spurway has revealed the half-time conversations which led to one of the greatest comebacks in recent non league football history.
Moneys trailed Melksham 4-1 at half-time in Monday’s Southern League Division 1 game in Wiltshire - but astonishingly scored five goals in the first 21 minutes of the second period to run out 6-4 winners.
It was the first time Moneys had ever scored six times in their Southern League career.
After Jake Raine had given the visitors an early led, they leaked four goals to a Melksham side who had only won twice in their first nine games.
But Steve Hutchings kickstarted a memorable comeback with two goals in a minute shortly after the restart and Lewis Fennemore struck an equaliser.
Conor Bailey then popped up with two goals in the space of five minutes to give Spurway and his fellow caretaker Mat Jones an eye-popping victory to savour.
Spurway explained: ‘At half-time we told the players we could get something out of this game.
‘It wasn’t one of those games where you’re just hoping you don’t end up losing by six or seven.
‘Matt had a go at them and then we just told them how we wanted them to go about getting back into the game.
‘I felt a bit daft telling them we could still win the game, but that’s what we said.
‘Fair play, they went out and did it.
‘We didn’t change it that much, we just went man for man in midfield and told them to get the ball forward quicker.
‘We told the players ‘we’re better than this team, and we’re stronger than them’.
‘It was a strange first half. We started really well and went 1-0 up before conceding four really sloppy goals.
‘We’re not normally the sort of side that gives sloppy goals away.
‘Momentum is a big thing in football - when you have it it’s hard to stop, but equally it’s hard to get.
‘When we scored our second and third goals you could see that there was nothing Melksham could do to stop us winning that game.’
Spurway added: ‘I can’t fault the players - there’s not that many groups of players that could do that.
‘We do have some big, big characters and when they start playing we’re a good team.
‘I must admit, if someone had told me that one day this group would be 4-1 down but would win 6-4 I wouldn’t have been surprised.’
Moneyfields were able to name probably their strongest starting XI of the season in Wiltshire.
The likes of Brett Poate, Jamie Ford, Sam Pearce, Lewis Fennemore, Ryan Pennery, Joe Briggs and Steve Hutchings all started.
‘We told the players beforehand that this time there were no excuses. We had a strong starting XI and a strong bench,’ Spurway said.
‘It’s been a tough start with injuries and suspensions, though I know you can help the suspensions.
‘But we always knew when players started to come back we’d be strong again.
‘We were able to rest Conor Hoare at Melksham as he’d looked a bit leggy at Manor Farm.
‘Earlier in the season we wouldn’t have been able to do that.’
There was also praise for 17-year-old full back Rhys Lloyd, who was one of the full backs on Monday night.
‘He’s come in from the youth team and been outstanding,’ said Spurway. ‘He’s looked as if he’s played there for five or ten years.’
There was a place on the bench at Melksham for new signing Michael Finch.
The attacking midfielder has been brought in from Wessex League club Lymington, whom he only joined in February of this year from another Wessex club, Bournemouth Poppies.
Moneyfields don’t play this weekend - they have already been knocked out of the FA Trophy - but return to league action at home to Southampton-based Sholing next Tuesday.