Ian Chapman made two changes to the side which picked up a point at Worthing, on Bank Holiday Monday, with Connor Tighe re-introduced to the starting XI, and Andre McCollin given his full Hillians debut.
The visitors started brightly, and took the lead after just 6 minutes, when former Hillian, Brannon O’Neill, beat Josh James from 20 yards – with a dipping half volley. The Hillians grew into the game, and deservedly drew level in the 35th minute, when Andre McCollin drove powerfully at the Hawks back line, before poking past Minter, for his first goal in a Hill shirt. Ben Pope also opened his account for the season, just 7 minutes later, as a quick free-kick from Dan Beck found Smith-Joseph, who’s driving run and cross found Pope at the back post, who made no mistake from 8 yards – heading past Minter. The half looked to be petering to a close, before the visitors won a free-kick in a dangerous area. The cross somehow found Lucas Rodrigues at the back post, who couldn’t miss from under the crossbar.
Just 7 minutes into the second half, the Hillians found themselves behind again, as a ball over the top found James Fraser, who headed over the on-rushing Josh James. Ian Chapman introduced Kieron Pamment in the 55th minute, but before the wide man could even make a contribution, the Hawks found a fourth, as Henry Muggeridge capitalised on a defensive error, and lifted the ball over the helpless James. The remaining 30 minutes saw an attacking onslaught from the Hillians, with McCollin and Charman both striking the woodwork within seconds of each other. It appeared that ‘lady luck’ just wasn’t with the Hillians, as Charman’s swiveling volley struck the post once more. The visitors managed to hold out, to take all three points back to the South coast.
The Hillians MOTM was awarded to Gary Charman, who could have easily bagged himself a brace in the second half, and defended well throughout.
The Hillians travel to Faversham Town on Tuesday night, in the Velocity Trophy, before hosting Folkestone Invicta in the FA Cup First Round Qualifying on Saturday, at the Green Elephants Stadium.