Stags slip up... match for Matt is looming

Midhurst in action against Storrington earlier in the season / Picture by Kate Shemilt

Midhurst in action against Storrington earlier in the season / Picture by Kate Shemilt

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It was the same old story for the Stags as they yet again let slip two valuable points in the closing seconds of a game, ending up drawing 3-3 away to St Francis Rangers.

Midhurst have now dropped 12 points from winning positions in games with seconds to spare and this may cost them the chance of the top-six finish in SCFL division one they are keen to achieve.

Next Wednesday at the Rotherfield, a Midhurst XI will play a Fittleworth XI (7.30pm) to raise money for Stags player Matt Mason, who suffered a double leg break playing against East Preston.

On a bobbly and sloping pitch, Midhurst did play some intricate football – but rarely threatened.

It was the hosts who looked the hungrier and but like Midhurst, they had little end product.

Midhurst’s first real threat created the only goal. George Hotson, Lewis Hamilton, Scott Dormer and George Morris linked well down the left for a cut back to Lawrence Hyde. His strike from 18 yards nestled into the bottom of the net.

In no time the host were level. A through-ball ended in St Francis’ Ben Haskell finishing coolly.

The second half started well for Midhurst. Ben Kemplin grew into the game and was a handful. His non-stop work ethic created chances. Hyde and Dormer both had great chances but denied.

On 65 minutes Martin May conceded a rather soft free-kick 20 yards out. A deft dink over the wall by Rhys White saw Cowell rooted to the spot only to see the ball creep in.

This brought a new lease of life to the Stags. Paul Grantham made several marauding runs from centre-back and one of them brought the equaliser. His pass found Gary Norgate, who knocked down for Hyde to smash home for 2-2.

Late drama followed. With the clock ticking into the 92nd minute, Hyde won a corner. Hamilton’s delivery found Keith Martin whose header fell for Hyde. His strike was stopped on the line by a Rangers defender but the rebound fell to Norgate to get a touch and bundle home.

St Francis instantly hit back. Several costly errors led to Jonathan Noakes being left unmarked at the back post to tap home with seconds to spare.

Midhurst: Cowell, May, Grantham, Hotson, Hamilton, Kemplin, Morris, Martin, Hyde, Dormer, Norgate Subs: Castleton, Hunt, Stevens.

Midhurst lost 4-0 at East Preston in the Division 1 Cup on Tusday night. The Stags host Steyning this Saturday.

* Next Wednesday at the Rotherfield, a Midhurst XI will play a Fittleworth XI (7.30pm) to raise money for Stags player Matt Mason, who suffered a double leg break playing against East Preston. Fittleworth is Matt’s former club and many past and present players and friends of Matt will be involved.

Junior Stags will add to the occasion as mascots. A raffle is planned, with numerous local businesses donating prizes. A signed England Ladies shirt will be auctioned off after the match. Food will be available.

Entry will be free but there will be donation buckets at all entrances.

All money raised will go to Matt and his young family, which will hopefully help to cover some of his lost earnings at this important time of year.

Selsey 1 Langney Wanderers 5

SCFL division

You wouldn’t guess it from the final score but this match was goalless after an hour and the teams were level with 20 minutes left.

Shane Saunders put Wanderers ahead and restored their lead after Cameron Corell equalised for the Blues.

Selsey were then blown away by a Nathan Crabb hat-trick in the final ten minutes.

Steve Bailey’s side are at home again on Saturday, with Seaford visiting the High Street Ground.

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