As the FA Trophy returned to the Green Elephants Stadium, Kieron Pamment's 79th minute strike earned the Hillians a deserved replay against his former side.
Simon Wormull & John Rattle made two changes to the side that picked up a point against Dorking Wanderers in midweek, with Gary Charman & Kieron Pamment coming into the starting XI. Former Hillians, Will Miles & Darren Budd were named in the Worthing squad for the afternoon.
The Hillians started on the front foot, with Ben Pope heading over after just 2 minutes. The first chance for the visitors fell to Pearce, but the former Bognor forward couldn’t keep his strike down. Worthing enjoyed the majority of possession in the opening exchanges, and must of thought they’d opened the scoring in the 20th minute, when the ball fell to Joe Clarke under the crossbar, but the midfielder somehow ballooned his effort over James. As the game hit the half an hour mark, the Hillians began to turn the screw. Perntreou smartly saved twice from Pope & Pamment in quick succession, before Pamment’s deflected header struck the post with Gary Charman then heading over from the subsequent cross. It was, however, the visitors who drew first blood as Oliver Pearce fired low past Josh James in the 35th minute. Wormull & Rattle were forced into a change, in the 42nd minute, as an injury to Tom Cadman saw the introduction of Billy Barker. Worthing should have doubled their lead just before half time, as they failed to capitalise on some sloppy defending from a Hillians throw-in.
The second half started identically to the first with a Ben Pope header! This time, Perntreou was forced to tip the forward’s effort over the bar. Pat Harding then had a spectacular overhead kick palmed away by the Worthing ‘keeper. The Hillians back line had defended bravely all afternoon, as Richmond was next to thrown himself in front of Callum Kealy’s strike. Andre McCollin was introduced in the 66th minute, replacing Dan Beck. The 72nd minute saw, ultimately, a game changing passage of play. Ajiboye did superbly to thread through to Pearce, who looked sure the double his side’s lead, but Ibrahim Diallo produced an exceptional sliding challenge to thwart the Worthing man. Just over 5 minutes later, the Hillians had their deserved equaliser. The dangerous Aaron-Smith Joseph found Kieron Pamment with a defence splitting pass, before the former Rebel finished into the bottom corner – sparking brilliant celebrations among the Hillians faithful. It was all Hill going into the final 10 minutes, with ASJ coming close to finding a winner, but his finish just couldn’t quite match his powerful run. Henry Watson replaced Gary Charman in the dying embers, with the referee’s full time whistle blowing just moments later.
Once again, a very organised performance from the Hillians, as we earn ourselves an FA Trophy First Round Qualifying Replay.
The Hillians MOTM was awarded to Pat Harding, who continues to roll back the years, producing some excellent midfield performances in recent weeks. A rather fitting award on “Super Pat’s” 350th competitive appearance for the club!
Next up, we’re off to the Bibby Financial Services Stadium on Tuesday night for our FA Trophy Replay!