Match Report -

Match Report - , by Ian Craig

Hythe & Dibden v Fleet Spurs

Hythe & Dibden 5 Fleet Spurs 1 (Sydenhams Wessex League Division 1) by John Porter

As ever, the welcome from the committee members and officials at Hythe & Dibden was warm and friendly.  Equally friendly to their hosts was Spurs’ approach to the game  Sadly, it appears that their excellent display in the Downton game was a flash in the pan rather than a harbinger of great times to come.  (I can mix metaphors with the best of them.)

Hythe came into the game like greyhounds from the slips – I really can mix metaphors with the best of them – and might easily have scored within the first couple of minutes, as Fleet gave the ball away when they had it and stood back when they didn’t.  Eventually, after nine minutes, Marcel Laplas gave the home side a deserved lead when he ran on to a through ball and slipped the ball past Mark Appleby.  The Spurs defence will no doubt complain that they were distracted by Ollie Bradley, who was clearly offside, but under the current interpretation of the laws of the game he wasn’t interfering with play and so the goal stood.  Whether this interpretation of the laws is sensible is a moot point, but the powers-that-be deem that it is, so it must of course be correct … at least until they decide to change it.  Hythe were completely on top and it was no surprise when Bradley doubled the margin after 13 minutes, turning in from point-blank range a fine cross from Ben Slade.  Gradually Spurs began to get into the game, though H&D still looked the more dangerous side, and after 37 minutes the referee awarded the home side a penalty after a tackle on the edge of the box by Pete Lines.  Rian Drake struck the ball powerfully, but Appleby guessed right and made an excellent diving save.  Five minutes later, he had to make another fine save but the Fleet defence was unable to clear the ball and a desperate attempted clearance by a Spurs defender sent the ball rocketing into his own net.  A score-line of 3-0 at half-time did not flatter Hythe, who were playing far better than their league position would suggest.

In the second half the game started with play more evenly balanced and after 18 minutes, Hythe’s Jack Attrill was shown a red card for a tackle on Victor Mudonhi.  Could this be a lifeline for Spurs?  This looked possible as Adam Nash soon struck a fine free-kick past the helpless Mitchell Stedman to reduce the arrears.  However, a minute later, all hope disappeared as the Fleet defence stood watching as Slade placed the ball accurately past Appleby from outside the penalty area to restore the three-goal lead.  As the game approached its end, Hythe were awarded another spot kick, which after his previous failure Drake bravely volunteered to take.  This time he made no mistake.

Spurs remain in 16th position in the league.  On Saturday they entertain Weymouth Reserves (kick-off 3.00) and will need to produce a much better performance if they are to avoid further embarrassment.

Spurs team: Mark Appleby; Adam Bond; Adam Nash; Chris Barnes; Victor Mudonhi (sub Jan Verhoeven 79); Ryan Alexander (sub Rob Colfer 71); Dan Bone; Mike Bertoux; Jamil Olweny; Pete Lines; Chris Rose