Saturday 30th March
Ide Hill 5 – 3 Sutton Athletic Reserves
SUTTON LEFT COL’D
Columb Grant scored a sumptuous brace on Saturday afternoon at Wrotham to leave Ide Hill a win and a draw from the league title in their two remaining games.
Ide Hill boasted a strong squad, very near to full strength with a talented bench of five with which to attack Sutton, and although they started in a slightly sluggish manner, Ide Hill could have been two goals up after 5 minutes, with man of the match Columb Grant rattling the post from 15 yards and Matt Bunn having a shot saved on the line from a clever lobbed shot.
Sutton were passing and attacking with some threat, but Ide Hill went ahead on 15 minutes, after a couple of close shaves from the previous two corners, Ben Holder’s arced third set piece was perfectly weighted for captain Phil Alteirac to time his run to perfection and power in at the back post for his second crucial goal in March.
Ide Hill quickly doubled their lead thanks to some more razor sharp interplay at the top of the pitch, some smart passes leading to the excellent Bunn slipping in Grant, who took a touch wide, drew the keeper and lifted a deft chipped finish into the goal for his 5th of the season.
The home teamed sensed a heavy victory and took a strong hold of the game towards the end of the first half and scored an astonishing third; once more, a quick break with a number of rapid passes, the final one lifted through from the impressive Callum Heath saw Matt Bunn through but wide right on the edge of the box on 35 minutes. 2 minutes previously he had found himself in a similar position and selflessly squared an inch perfect square ball to the irrepressible Sam Heasman, who had missed from close range. This time he took it on himself, and rocketed a beauty in to the top left corner for his 11th of the season.
Sutton Reserves pulled one back from a scrappy set piece which would somewhat foreshadow the seesawing messy nature of the second half from Ide Hill’s perspective. But another blinding goal on 40 minutes took Ide Hill into the break 4-1 up. Heath took a throw in near to the Sutton box on the right, Jackson flicked around the corner and Grant did the rest; steadying himself from 20 yards out wide and curling a delicious left footed shot beyond the Sutton keeper and in to the top corner to cap arguably his best performance of the season.
The second half was a much less slick affair, Ide Hill missing the chance to take a scoreline more reflective of their missed chances. Sutton making it 4-2 when their forward wriggled in to the box and lifted over the advancing Mckay. Substitute Rob Piper made the victory safer, Grant squaring unselfishly to him in the box to strike home at the second attempt for his 4th of the season. Sutton finished the scoring in the 85th minute, a long range shot was saved, with the Sutton forward slotting in the rebound.
Manager Paul Mcdonagh was happy with the win “we played well in patches and attacked really well in spells, we could have scored quite a few more and the scoreline seemed a bit closer than it should have been. But a good win and sets us up for the last couple of games well” and on MOTM Grant “he was excellent today, as he was midweek. His goals were brilliant and it’s important to have him scoring and playing well with big games to come”
Ide Hill remain one point clear of Sydenham at the top after they beat Langley, Ide Hill with a game in hand. Chipstead are 6 points behind with a game in hand, with Ide Hill knowing that a win and a draw in their remaining games against South East will secure them the league and promotion to the Kent County Premier. Before that, Ide Hill play Farnborough Reserves on Wednesday evening at Rusthall’s ground in the semi-final of the Sevenoaks Cup with Chipstead lurking in the final on Good Friday for the victors.
Ide Hill Team: Mckay, Howard, Steggle, Pearson, Alteirac, Heasman, Holder, Jackson, Edmeads, Grant, Bunn. Subs: Heath, James, Kensell, Piper, Driver
Man of The Match: Columb Grant
Saturday 13th April
South East 1-2 Ide Hill
Ide Hill held their nerve down the back nine to see off their bogey side South East, win the league title and a historic first promotion to the Kent County Premier Division on Saturday afternoon.
With Chipstead and Sydenham both in action and in the chase, Ide Hill went in to the game knowing a victory would deliver them the league title, irrespective of what their challengers mustered against Langley and Long Lane respectively. Coupled with the fact that South East had dumped Ide Hill out of two cups earlier in the season and held them to a draw way back in September, the visitors knew they would need a big performance befitting of league champions, and so it proved.
Ide Hill boasted a strong squad, although shorn of some key midfielders, meaning Luke Steggle and Sam Heasman stepped into central midfield roles, and South East started the smoother of the sides, playing with speed and precision through the midfield and quickly in to their dangerous forwards and jinking winger.
Ide Hill had to defend diligently in the opening 15 minutes but have shown themselves increasingly capable of doing so against strong sides, with Mike Mckay, Phil Alteirac, Ben Pearson, Charlie James and Luke Steggle providing the robust foundation around which much of the team has thrived and blossomed over the past few months. And it was Charlie James who took Ide Hill in to the lead in the 20th minute from a corner, Columb Grant providing his 14th assist of the season and James steering in a beautifully guided header from 10 yards to put the visitors ahead and give them something to build around.
South East looked dangerous throughout the first half and had much of the play, but, as often has been the case this season, Ide Hill were carving out the better chances through their slick and rapid attacks forged between the clever link up play of Grant, endless running of Matt Bunn and powerful athleticism of Callum Heath. Craig Jackson had a couple of good chances to double the lead, a header from a corner cleared off the line and a near post corner routine saved after a deflection. Shaun Boyle came in to the midfield in the first half and provided his inimitable forward dynamism, also going close from a corner and breaking the lines between midfield and attack with impressive regularity.
But it was South East who drew level just before the break, setting up a tense second half and making Ide Hill pay for those missed opportunities in the first period. Paul Mcdonagh delivered an impassioned half time team talk demanding more from his players, with the game clearly there for the taking. And Ide Hill responded with a mature and controlled second half display, reducing South East’s threat to nothing, spearheaded by the colossal MOTM performance of the returning Charlie James at the back, who kept the league’s leading scorers impressively in check alongside his impressively composed defensive partners Alteirac and Pearson.
The winning goal arrived on the hour through a mixture of directness and deft class which has been symbolic of Ide Hill’s campaign. Mike Mckay fired a long kick over the South East back line and leaving Columb Grant running through on the right side of the box. Grant has saved his best patch of form for the business end of the season, providing crucial goals, assists and all round play in a wonderful spring, and it was he who delivered the league winning goal with all of his customary panache, lobbing the ball over the onrushing goalkeeper to send Ide Hill into raptures.
Ide Hill closed the game out thereafter with impressive assurance, Sam Heasman marshalling the midfield with brilliant and growing maturity, mixing his irrepressible physicality with controlled ball play, whilst Steggle defended and swept up with increasing authority in his unfamiliar position. 16 year old Paul Driver also came on at full back and showed what a brilliant player he will become, playing with a composed authority which belied his tender years. Ide Hill could have snatched a deserved third in the dying minutes, Grant and Boyle both drawing excellent saves when through on the left, before substitute Tom Wright rattled the crossbar with a powerful header in the 85th minute.
But Ide Hill welcomed the final whistle and celebrated with real emotion at their brilliant league win. The core of the team have been together for a number of years and this is their finest achievement to date, moving through the leagues and into the Kent County Premier for the first time in their 96 year history. It was a proud day for all associated with the club, from manager and assistant Mcdonagh and Bailey to club legends Keith Mcginn and Wally Paxton, who set the foundations in place for the recent success of Ide Hill, with the achievements down to so many at the club beyond the playing squad.
So Ide Hill win the league with a game to spare, against Welling Park later in the month. Next up though a huge Sevenoaks Cup final against local rivals Chipstead on Good Friday, where they will play after the Reserves who play in the morning at Sevenoaks Town’s ground in the Junior version of the cup on what will be a memorable day for the club. Ide Hill’s only two losses in the league this year came against Chipstead, so they will be looking to avenge those with a spring in the step with the league title sealed as they stride down the final fairway for a bonus swing at a double and a fitting end to a masterful season.
Ide Hill Team: Mckay, Heath, James,Pearson, Alteirac, M Driver, Steggle, Jackson, Heasman, Grant, Bunn. Subs: Piper, Boyle, Wright, P Driver
Man of the Match: Charlie James
Ide Hill win the league and promotion to the Kent County Premier for the first time in their history!
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Ide Hill FC are a charter standard club who play in the Kent County League and the Sevenoaks & District League. They were formed in 1923 and became an affiliated member of the FA in 1924. The football club's home pitch is located behind The Cock Inn pub in the picturesque village of Ide Hill and is reported to be the highest football pitch in Kent.