Stags ready to make impression when Southern Combination kicks off

Midhurst and Easebourne FC are making good progress as they gear up for another season in division one of the Southern Combination.

Midhurst manager Andy Lemmy Ewen

Manager Andy ‘Lemmy’ Ewen expects Littlehampton to be strong again and tips Seaford to surprise a few, but is hopeful his Stags can make an impression too.

Midhurst began pre-season with a 3-2 defeat against Fawley, then drew 4-4 with Alton Town and enjoyed a 3-2 win over Farnham Town.

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In their latest game, the Stags beat Wessex League side Whitchurch 4-2.

Kieran Carter opened the scoring after a good kick from Stags keeper Josh Bird and set-up from Matt Rowland. Carter missed a couple more chances but grabbed his and the Stags’ second goal in the 35th minut.

Whitchurch pulled one back early in the second half as a deflection gave keeper Lewis Boughton no chance. Soon it was 2-2.

Oli Page was set up by Laurie Smith for Midhurst’s third and when Lewis Hyde forced a good save from the visitors’ keeper, the loose ball fell to Robbie Tambling who tapped home.

Ewen said: “We’ve lost Rich Carter and Danny Lane, who have both dropped down to the Hampshire League after becoming fathers.

“We’ve kept all other lads in the squad and added university lads Harry Tollworthy and Laurie Smith. Robbie Tambling is now fit after not really featuring last season and is like a new player.

“George Briance, who joined at lockdown, has also returned. Frank Penfold has stepped up from the reserves after having a successful season and has impressed during pre-season.

“We’re looking at few other lads and more will be revealed once they sign. Our aim for the season is the top four – this is a really tight squad and we have a lot of experience at this level and above.

“Littlehampton are the benchmark for everyone as they were outstanding last year and we expect the same from them this year. Seaford Town are my team to watch, I really like them and their management team go about things correct way.

The Stags will start their SCFL campaign on September 5 at home to Mile Oak then face a stiff test three nights later when they go to Littlehampton Town.