Hard-working, outstanding and tremendous were a few words used by stand-in manager Tom Chaplin as he saw Midhurst stroll to a comfortable 5-0 away win in their SCFL division-two clash at Steyning.
Manager Dave Berkowitz missed the fixture as he was getting married – and what a wedding gift this was.
Steyning started on the front foot, dominating the early stages and having several chances. Billy Nash in the Stags goal had to make several fine stops to keep it 0-0.
A new back four of Dan Watts, Mark Broughton, Luke Martin and Nathan Hunt grew into the half and started to look at ease with one another.
The first goal came on 20 minutes. A sloppy back pass by the hosts’ right-back was picked up by Gary Norgate, who neatly slotted home.
From then on it was all Midhurst as they ramped up the intensity, looked hungrier and began winning first and second balls.
Lewis Hamilton, Lawrence Hyde and George Morris all had chances to increase the score.
The second came on 35 minutes. Norgate won the ball back on the halfway line and Hyde’s sprayed cross-field ball found Hamilton on the right. His dangerous ball into the box was cleared by Steyning’s Pickford but only to Norgate, who set Dreckman free to volley home from 12 yards.
The second half began at a frantic pace.
The pace at which Morris, Ben Kemplin and Hyde attacked with Hamilton and Liam Dreckman on the wings was a formidable sight.
Hamilton had the first chance of the second half. A whipped ball in from Dreckman found Hamilton free at the far post but his effort was saved well.
The third came on 55 minutes and with the Stags’ next attack. A tackle from Broughton saw him set Kemplin free and his marauding run found Hyde.
Hyde’s one-two with Morris set Norgate free and his shot was blocked for a corner. The resulting set-piece was whipped by Morris on to the head of Norgate, who headed home.
Midhurst were a constant threat with the defensive line dogged in their work-rate. Nash, Hunt, Martin, Broughton and Watts looked like they’d played the whole season together.
Goal No4 and Norgate’s hat-trick came on 67 minutes. After Nash had gathered a ball into the box, his long clearance set Norgate free.
The forward made his way into the box only to be bundled to the floor. A penalty was awarded and Hamilton, the Stags’ normal spot-kick taker, left it to Norgate to slot home.
Ant Kirby, on as a sub for Dreckman, slashed a shot wide of the goal. Jimmy Turner, who has returned to Midhurst after a year away travelling, made a good impact. His energy around the pitch caused several problems.
Goal five, Norgate’s fourth, came in the 87th minute. Kemplin’s through ball set him free to finish well.
Midhurst face East Preston at the Rotherfield this week.
Midhurst: Nash, Hunt, Martin, Broughton, Watts, Kemplin, Morris, Hyde, Hamilton, Norgate, Dreckman. Subs: Cowell, Turner (Hamilton 77), Kirby (Dreckman 77), Castleton (Norgate 85).
AFC Varndeanians 0 Selsey 4
SCFL division one
Selsey’s late charge for a top-six finished continued with a good away win at Varndeanians.
The Blues dominated from start to finish and an early goal from Howard Low set them on their way. Low headed in from close range after a corner was knocked down by centre-half partner James Kilhams.
The pitch at the Withdean Stadium was not in the best condition and made free-flowing football impossible but Selsey continued to try to play, creating several chances which were not taken as the home side’s keeper by luck or ability kept his side in the game.
Varndeanians luck ran out when new Selsey signing Ryan Morey rattled in a five-minute hat-trick either side of the break.
It was 4-0 on 46 minutes but there was no goal feast in the second half and Selsey were content to see out the game for a comfortable win.
That’s five wins in a row for Steve Bailey’s Blues, who face a real challenge this Saturday when they travel to leaders Saltdean.
Selsey: Smith, McGreal, Low, Kilhams, Parsons, Lynch, Manners, Chittock, Miller, Groom, Morey. Subs: Corell, Mepham, Ebling.
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