A thrilling Boxing Day Sussex derby, at the Green Elephants Stadium, saw the Hillians pick up all three points.
Simon Wormull made four changes to the side which started the game against Whitehawk – with Josh James, Boris Kipeya-Bonno, Andre McCollin and Tolulope Jonah (making his debut) all given starts.
The visitors started brightly enjoying healthy spells of possession, but failed to convert this into clear-cut chances. The first chance of the game fell to Andre McCollin, who’s effort was blocked well by James Crane, following some superb work down the left by Aaron Smith-Joseph. The Hillians thought they’d taken the lead in the 22nd minute, when Dan Beck headed past the flapping Perntreou – only for the referee to blow his whistle for an alleged foul on the ‘keeper. Oliver Pearce was the first Rebel to test Josh James, but the Hillians stopper comfortabley held the forwards’ tame effort. In the 31st minute Worthing took the lead, as David Ajiboye unleashed an unstoppable strike past Josh James from 25 yards out. The Hillians responded just 7 minutes later, as Michael Wilson’s in-swinging free-kick was missed by Perntreou and headed home by the skipper, Gary Elphick. Wormull’s men were pumping, with Hinshelwood’s rocking the Hillians took the lead in the 41st minute, as Aaron Smith-Joseph cooly tucked away his effort into the bottom corner, following a delightful through ball from Pat Harding.
The second half started with the visitors on the front foot, as Josh James was forced into a brave save – stealing the ball from the feet of Callum Kealy. In the 57th minute, Marco Figuero-Correia was introduced for his Hillians debut, giving the home side a more attacking impetus. Andre McCollin continued to work tirelessy up front, winning every flick on, linking up well with Smith-Joseph and Correia. The Mackeral men came close once more, as a smart free-kick made its way to Ajiboye, who’s right footed strike struck the upright and flew clear from danger. The visitors introduced ex-Hillians skipper, Darren Budd with 10 minutes remaining, and instantly become more of an attacking threat. In the final moments, Josh James pulled off a tremendous double save, firstly from Danny Barker and then Callum Kealy, before Boris Kipeya-Bonno produced a match-winning challenge to ensure the Hillians picked up a valuable three points.
A massive three points for the club in a fantastic Sussex derby, which sees us close the gap at the bottom of the Bostik Premier League table.
The Hillians MOTM was awarded to Josh James, who’s double save in the dying embers was good enough to win any game of football!
As per usual, you Hillians supporters were absolutely incredible – we cannot praise you enough for your continued support.
Next up, it’s another Sussex derby, this time…the Rooks.