Six-hour journey, players missing and a 1-0 defeat - Moneyfields endure day to forget at Bideford
Moneyfields endured a nightmare opening to the season – both on and off the pitch.
They arrived late for their Southern League division one south opener at Bideford, after spending six hours on a coach travelling to north Devon.
And to make matters worse, they ended up losing the game 1-0 on a day to forget.
The game kicked off 45 minutes late because of their traffic-induced delay.
Manager Dave Carter felt his team performed well under the circumstances.
'I don't think we deserved to lose,' he said.
'Considering the disruption to our preparations we did okay.
'We left Portsmouth just after 9am but got stuck in traffic on the A303.
'It took us an hour to get past Stonehenge.
'Then when we got to within an hour of the ground our driver had to take a break.
'When you spend all that time on a coach it is bound to be mentally and physically draining.
'You don't really get any time to get it out of your system.'
If that wasn't bad enough, the visitors' preparations had already been hit before they had even set out.
Experienced midfielder Scott Donnelly left them to return to Hayes & Yeading.
Prolific goalscorer Duncan Cully pulled out in the morning with a groin strain, and Lewis Fennemore was ruled out by a back injury.
With Steve Hutchings suspended, Carter gave a debut to three youngsters – Jake Hallett, Conor Yorke and Conor Hall.
'It doesn't help either when you have three or four players pull out,' added Carter.
'That meant in some areas we were playing with square pegs in round holes.
'All the things we worked on during pre-season went out the window because people were missing.
'I thought the lads who came in, Jake Hallett, Conor Yorke and Conor Hall, all had good games.'
Moneyfields felt they should have had a first-half penalty when Ryan Pennery was clipped inside the area.
On the hour mark, Moneyfields' woes increased when Jake Raine received a red card following an off-the-ball scuffle.
Carter felt the Bideford goal was very unfortunate.
'Their lad's volley from the edge of the area was going wide until it deflected in off Brett Poate's hip,' he added.