Current Iden manager Chip Winton raised a few eyebrows before his side’s triumphant Cup win on Saturday by placing what were thought to be square pegs in circlular holes: Ben Heffernan played up top with veterans Rob Levett, 32, and Chris Gould, 31, in the wing back positions. His thought process was a hit with Heffernan and Levett grabbing a brace in the 6-1 victory over Robertsbridge.
There wasn’t the best of starts for the home side when Jake Bryant donning his moulded hard surface boots slipped, tripping his marker, to concede a free kick that was neatly dispatched after two minutes! Iden, despite falling behind, kept the ball well not rushing things, controlling the build up, and pulled level with Sam Cooper redirecting Bryant’s back heel into the net. Winton headed for an early shower shortly after becoming lame, straining his adductor muscle. Liam Cobley filled his void.
Man of the Match Ben Heffernan scored his first and gained Iden’s lead on 25 minutes, finishing like a professional following great passages of play starting from Luke Willis in defence. With the trio of Tom Harris, Robert Wilson and Willis looking solid, dealing with any threat, the “old boys” in the wings had licence to push forward. Once again a great team goal was achieved with Levett charging into the box to poke home for 3-1. Iden cruising.
Five minutes later Levett struck a ferocious shot which was assisted by Cooper, the ball travelling like an arrow on fire into the top corner of the net leaving the goalkeeper stunned. Iden needed the second half to start the way the first ended and in fairness it did with good chances going begging from Cooper and Gould in particular. Darren Warne and Cobley kept making forward runs from the heart of midfield forcing the away side to be pinned in its half. Heffernan scored his second racing away from the defence to make it five for Iden with 20 minutes remaining.
Gould made his way up top when Heffernan was subbed in the last 10 minutes with Kyran Wall playing wing back. Gould had a game to forget in front of goal, the former county player crashed and burned numerous times, failing to score after moments of brilliance. Cooper did score a sixth, a powerful shot under the keeper taking Iden into the next round. Despite the missed chances from which Iden should have scored double and the six goals, Robertsbridge battled to the end but Winton’s boys were a class above. Heffernan praised Winton’s selection: “Being up top is not totally natural to me but when you have pace like we did today up there the game’s easy. Chip used the assets he had available and it paid dividends.” It was a close call for MoM with captain Harris, Levett and Cobley all running Heffernan close.
Iden are in cup action again next week when they face league table toppers St Leonards Social at Tilkein.
Iden line-up: Ridgers, Wilson(Walker), Willis, Harris, Warne, Bryant, Winton(Cobley), Levett, Gould, Cooper, Heffernan(Wall); subs not used Tiltman