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Harding Keeps Hillians Hopes Alive

With the Hillians needing a draw or better to take the Bostik Premier League survival race to the final day, Staines Town were the visitors, who could still sneak a play-off place. The game was initially delayed following a kit clash, but after a 6-minute delay we were underway, and what a start it was too. Staines’ goalkeeper Hudnell’s back pass went skybound, only for Lee Harding’s header to rebound off the crossbar. Harding was quickest to pounce, before crossing for Pat Harding, who nodded the ball into the net to give the Hillians the lead. The Hillians had a chance to double their lead on 15 minutes, but Charlie Bennett’s diving header was just off target. From then on, it was end to end football. Staines pressed with aggression, but the Hillians defended resolutely. Full back Tariq Richards struck the post on the half hour mark, as his header was unlucky not to hit the back of the net. 1-0 it stood at the half, with the Hillians outside of the drop zone.

Staines came out of the tunnel eager to turn the game on its head. Wave after wave of attacks, but the Hillians stood firm, spending most of the game with 10 men behind the ball. Tired legs started to show, but results elsewhere meant a draw would steal prove valuable. On 73 minutes, a flowing move from the Swans saw the ball fall to Mo Bettamer in the box, and the striker smashed home. It appears you can rely on a ‘Mo’ to score you a goal this season. A hefty delay followed, after one of the linesman pulled his hamstring. After 13 minutes of chaos, a replacement was found, and the game continued. This time, it was the Hillians who pressed on. With 13 minutes added on, the ball fell to Fisk at the far post in stoppage time, but Swans full back Rodney some how managed to get across to block Fisk’s shot. As fans started to gravitate towards the exits, there would be one more chance. Bettamer turned his man, before firing a superb strike on goal, only to be met by a fantastic save by Josh James. 1-1 it finished, but just as importantly, Tooting and Mitcham fell 1-0, meaning the Hillians were lifted out of the relegation zone. The Hillians have their destiny in their own hands next weekend, needing to match or better Tooting and Mitcham’s result to stay in the Bostik League.



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