The Hillians bowed out of the FA Trophy following a 2-1 defeat to Worthing, in our First Round Qualifying Replay.
Simon Wormull & John Rattle made three changes to the side which drew 1-1 on Saturday, introducing Billy Barker, Henry Watson & Andre McCollin into the starting XI.
The first opportunity of the game fell to Andre McCollin, who’s audacious effort flew wide of the left hand post. It took only 4 minutes for the hosts to take the lead, with Sam Rents curling a delightful free-kick past Josh James into the top corner. The hosts came close to doubling their lead, 15 minutes later, but James Richmond was on hand to brilliantly divert the ball past the on-rushing Crane and out for a corner kick – preventing a certain goal. The 23rd minute saw a moment of magic from Andre McCollin, as the Hillians forward eased past former Hillian, Darren Budd, before unleashing a venomous strike from 25 yards out past Perntreou and into the back of the net. Both sides continued to create chances in what was shaping up to be a thrilling cup tie. In the 33rd minute, Worthing regained their one goal advantage, as Pearce poked the ball past James following a good delivery from Alex Parsons. The Hillians certainly had the better of the last 15 minutes, creating more than enough chances to equilise. Pat Harding’s shot was somehow deflected wide from 8 yards out, before Richmond’s header from the resulting corner was saved well by Perntreou. The half ended with Perntreou called into action again, this time saving from McCollin, with the goalscorer knowing he should have done better.
Jesse Starkey had the ball in the Hillians net just moments after the restart, but was rightfully adjudged to be offside by the officials. McCollin again had a chance to draw the Hillians level, but failed to direct his effort on target with only the ‘keeper to beat. The 52nd minute saw a moment of controversy, as Ben Pope stole the ball off Perntreou before slotting into an empty net, only for the referee to blow for a foul on the Worthing ‘keeper – much to the shock of the travelling Hillians. The game finally began to settle down, with second half chances coming at a premium. James saved well from Ajiboye, in the 69th minute, before Parsons came close just moments later. The Hillians continued to push for a deserved equaliser, but the hosts held firm, progressing into the Second Round Qualifying.
Contrasting emotions for the Hillians, who have to be impressed by, again, another strong attacking performance, however will certainly be ruing some missed opportunities.
The Hillians MOTM was awarded to Dan Beck, who was tremendous in the middle of the park all evening.
Thank you to all you Hillians who travelled down the A27 to support the club, you were in fine voice all evening, and continue to be a great credit to our football club!
Next up, it’s a return to Bostik League action, as we travel to Margate!