The Hillians fielded a young squad against an experienced Saltdean side and it proved a tough test, the early stages were high tempo with Saltdean looking dangerous going forward however James was in good form between the sticks and dealing with threats comfortably. Mo and Tadley in central defence with Tariq and Eman’ full backs the back four looked well organised and kept a strong backline.
The game did settle after 15 minutes and we enjoyed good possession without getting behind the Saltdean defence, however a switch to Matt (trialist) up front worked well and he found space from a Tariq Richards pass to sweep the ball into the far corner and put us 1-0 up at the break. The second half we started well and kept Saltdean to limited chances and the U18’s that came on midway through adapted to the game well and we were playing with a growing confidence. Saltdean found the net on 70 minutes with a clever lob finish to make it 1-1, the response was positive and we were rewarded when Tadley split their defence with a pass for Matt to run on and finish well at the near post to put us back in front. Saltdean pushed for an equaliser and on another night may have found the net but a resilient effort from the whole squad and the game finished 2-1.
Overall a promising performance and with a focus on young players progression it will be encouraging to see the future development of our youth section and build a foundation for senior football opportunities.