Iden manager Chip Winton left Tilkeiln a happy man following his side’s 5-1 win against Rock a Nore on Saturday (October 25). Richard “Alfy” Weller returned to the side to bag four goals and a Man of the Match, with Sam Cooper scoring the fifth from the penalty spot.
The win was a fine result bearing in mind that Winton had no Shane Ridgers due to injury, Luke Willis and Rob Levett away on holiday, Liam Cobley working and Darren Warne pulling out in the morning suffering from Adeobioli – a form of sickness of the stomach!
Timothy Paul Oakman donned the gloves and the pink goalkeeping jersey and played solid throughout, only to be beaten by a late second half penalty denying him a clean sheet.
Weller opened his scoring account with a fine header glanced to the far post being picked out tremendously from Sam Cooper’s cross. Cooper was fouled on the edge of the box before Chris Gould struck a free-kick goal bound only for Weller to deflect in the corner. Iden 2-0 up and looking good.
Franky Walker started his first game of the season returning from an injury inflicted pre-season by his team mate Weller and, along with Robert Wilson, defended brilliantly. With Walker fit only for an hour, Winton brought himself on, with Cooper making his way to defence.
Winton operated behind the strikers, two was shortly three when Ben Heffernan, who ran his marker ragged, released Gould who calmly slotted across the box for Weller to secure his hat trick.
Captain Tom Harris was faultless; he played from the back and encouraged the younger players, then played a side pass to Cooper who smashed it long to the galloping hat-trick hero to side-step the keeper and fire into an empty net, 4-0.
Jake Bryant and Kyran Wall both picked up yellow cards in the second half, but the Rocks keeper bettered that when, with himself already booked, he got a straight red for a rugby tackle on Gould. Cooper on penalty duty made no mistake hitting the ball hard and low for 5.
The clean sheet was in sight until a blatant handball from Harris was converted in the top corner, the goalkeeper left with no chance.
5-1 a good win with plenty of positives, notably the scoring Weller looks hungry for action; Harris was simply quality; and Cooper showed his range of attributes. Iden start by going into November fixtures at home too unbeaten St Leonards Social. Winton has a full squad to choose from for the first time this season: what a lovely headache to have!
Oakman, Walker (Winton), Harris (c), Wilson, Wall, Heffernan (Hills), Wall, Bryant, Gould, Cooper, Weller; sub not used Ridgers.