Midhurst and Easebourne’s close season has been a hive of activity with plenty of coming and goings – including seasoned county legends retiring from senior football.
That and a long-term injury to young Harry Tollworthy has meant Stags boss Shane Brayson has had to work hard to replace three or four of his best players from last season.
The management are happy most of last season’s squad have signed again and they have managed to bring in Brad Miles, Grant Radmore, Sam James and Matt Docherty from Bosham’s 2016-17 title-winning side and cup-winnig side of last term.
Brayson has also captured long-term target Jake Goulding from Sidlesham while ex-Pompey youngster Liam Jeram has also joined Midhurst.
Brayson and his under-23 manager Pete Hill have tried hard to bring local young talent together for the new under-23 side to mould a bright future for the Stags. They will benefit from working with new head coach Matt Brown, who works for Chelsea.
After a up-and-down pre-season Brayson’s new-look side headed to Steyning for their league opener minus nine of the first-team squad.
The Stags, led by new first-team skipper Duncan Brown, started finding their range of passing and the movement of the front two of Radmore and Jeram caused problems.
Two great moments of skill from Radmore almost earned Midhurst the lead.
Then the sucker punch – two mistakes cost the Stags the only goal of the game from a corner which was not cleared allowing the ball to be smashed home by Chris Neatherway.
In the second half the Stags had a 20-minute spell where they wasted two good chances to equalise while the new-look defence of Broughton, Dougherty, Fewell and James coped with Steyning’s lively front two.
Brayson said: “I think a draw would have been a fair result but some times you don’t get what you deserve.”
He praised his side on their performance and looks forward to getting a couple of players back for this weekend’s Peter Bentley Cup tie at Oakwood. He is also hopeful of getting a couple more potential targets in.