Rock-a-Nore were the team welcomed to the Park hoping to improve on last week’s four-all draw with Ore Athletic. The visitors looked threatening in attack with the Rocks’ striker forcing a decent save from Shane Ridgers in the Iden goal. Then a good mix of decent defending, good possession and hard work in midfield saw Iden take the game by the horns. Chris Gould was unlucky not to score with a curling low effort before he eventually broke the deadlock direct from a free kick smashing the ball under the Rocks’ wall into the net.
With the Iden defensive line as solid as a rock the away side were restricted to long shots without troubling Ridgers. A quick break turned out to be fortunate for Iden thanks to the left peg of Gould smashing home low from a distance. Iden were 2-0 up and looking comfortable and should have gone in at half time further in front but the “fox in the box” Rob Levett sailed the ball over the bar following a great cross from the menacing Gould.
It was quite clear early in the second half that the Iden defenders wanted first a win, and second a clean sheet. Tom Harris wasn’t taken any chances practising the old football saying “if in doubt kick it out” and losing four match balls in the process! Along with Luke Willis the defenders both made vital clearances from their six-yard boxes. Gentle giant Rob Wilson showed some character with a tackle that displayed aggression and determination, the first of its kind for many a year!
The midfield trio of Darren “ginger Rooney” Warne, Justin Wall and Jake Bryant continued to work tirelessly up and down the pitch. Bryant, always solid in the tackle, provided an inch perfect 40 yard diagonal pass to the hat trick searching Gould only for a heavy touch to lose position. Gould, who was playing his first game back from injury, was replaced by manager Chip Winton for the last 20 minutes.
The second half deserved a goal and when Levett was left unmarked two yards out it seemed a certainty that the net would ripple…. and it did, not with the ball but with Levett’s fist and foot on the post. Somehow he headed the ball over and he was not a happy bunny!
A fantastic save from Ridgers kept Iden two in front only too be beaten a few minutes later. A lame pass back towards him was never going to be reached and the Rocks’ forward coolly finished the job, making the last four minutes of the ninety a little uncomfortable for the home side. With the ball in his possession right back Liam Cobly rushed down the right wing with the corner in sight. While his team were screaming for him to keep it in the corner, Cobly had other plans and crossed the ball straight into the hands of the Rocks’ goalkeeper. Needless to say his manager wasn’t impressed and the whole village could hear him telling his defender what he thought!
The final whistle sounded to the home side’s relief: a two-one win, three points and still top of the league. Next week Iden play Ninfield at home.
Iden team: Ridgers, Cobly, Wilson, Harris (c), Willis, Wall, Warne, Bryant, Weller, Gould (Winton), Levett. Subs unused: Oakman.
Man of the Match: Darren Warne.