US Portmouth boss Grice rues ‘turning point’ in Wessex League Premier Division derby loss at Moneyfields

US Portsmouth boss Tom Grice was left to reflect on a ‘turning point’ following his side’s third PO postcode Wessex League Premier Divison derby loss in eight days.

By Simon Carter
Wednesday, 29th September 2021, 10:55 am
Moneyfields striker Steve Hutchings sees a shot deflected wide in last night's Wessex Premier derby win against US Portsmouth. Picture: Martyn White.
Moneyfields striker Steve Hutchings sees a shot deflected wide in last night's Wessex Premier derby win against US Portsmouth. Picture: Martyn White.

After previous defeats to Baffins Milton Rovers (0-3) and Fareham (1-6), USP suffered a 4-1 reverse in the pouring rain at Moneyfields last night.

US had deserved to go in at half-time level following Brodie Spencer’s stoppage-time equaliser at Dover Road.

The same player could have put US in front on 51 minutes, but saw a close range effort rebound off the crossbar.

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Frankie Paige put through his own and Steve Hutchings grabbed a brace of headers as the hosts eventually eased to a victory that wasn’t as comfortable as it appears.

‘It was a turning point,’ said Grice. ‘If Brodie scores it could have been a completely different game.

‘I was not happy at all after the Fareham game, but I was a bit happier here. The players could hold their heads high.

‘We were probing in the first half and we asked a few questions. The scoreline flattered them a little bit - it wasn’t a complete capitulation by us.

‘They (Moneyfields) have a lot of strength in depth, they had good subs - I rate (Matt) McGlinchey highly, he’s a tidy player.’

McGlinchey was introduced into central midfield, in place of Callum Glen, on the hour mark. Moneys went ahead shortly after and McGlinchey provided the cross for Hutchings’ opening header on 73 minutes - a minute after Josh Hazell and Bradey Norton had come on.

Grice handed Owen Craig a debut in goal as Damien Kelsall was unavailable. Craig, once a USP reserve, was making a one-off appearance ‘on loan’ from Hampshire Premier Leaguers Locks Heath.

Moneys boss Glenn Turnbull remarked: ‘I don’t think the scoreline flattered us.

‘If Brodie had scored it could have been a completely different game, but for me we had enough chances.

‘We were a bit naive at times thinking we could hit 60/70-yard diagonals on that surface. IT was a bit squelchy on the dug-outs side.

‘Steve (Huchings) has one of the best touches around and the fact he was struggling says it all. I’d challenge anyone to play well in those conditions.

‘I said at half-time to the players, ‘I don’t care how it happens, just win this game - I don’t mind if it’s 2-1 in the 89th minute or if we score 10, just win it.’

‘The subs were at the right times and were the right subs, they gave us a bit of impetus.

‘Josh Hazell with his pace gives us a different dimension, he can make a bad ball look a half-decent one.

‘I actually put Josh on to get at Frankie Paige, and they immediately took Frankie off so that backfired a bit!

‘Steve’s second goal was particularly good, the ball was going behind him so to generate that power and placement …

‘He’s not far off being fully fit now, and when Steve plays he makes everyone else play a little bit better.’