We booked our place in the Final of the Sussex Senior Cup with a 2-1 victory over local rivals, Haywards Heath Town.
Simon Wormull made two changes from the side which picked up a point at Potters Bar Town on Saturday, with Charlie Bennett and Aiden Enver handed starts – Farrell Ryder and Steve Sargent also returned to the bench.
The Hillians burst into life immediately and took the lead after just 4 minutes, as Pat Harding turned home Smith-Joseph’s deflected cross at the back post. After just 11 minutes, the Hillians faithful were sent into delerium as Aiden Enver’s outrageous volley flew past the helpless Heyburn and into the back of the net. The Hillians continued to dominate the opening exchanges and the scoreline reflected that. In the 26th minute, Harding had the chance to double his tally following a superb pass from Charlie Bennett, but the veteren sliced his effort wide of the target. Just a minute later, the Hillians had an even better opportunity to make it three as Enver slipped through Tom Cadman, but the full-back’s strike could only find the side netting. In the 29th minute, Heath had their first real opportunity of the half, as Alex Laing’s free-kick struck the foot of the post before being swiped away from danger by Cheick Toure. Shaun Saunders’ men were beginning to find their feet, and in the 32th minute should have halved the deficit as Saunders’ cross somehow evaded Dalhouse inside the six-yard box. The referee had his first major decision to make in the 34th minute, as the Hillians appealed for a handball on Joshua Spinks – but the man in the middle waved play on. Josh James was first called upon in the 39th minute, as he produced a brilliant save to deny ex-Hillian Callum Saunders from heading home. The final chance of the half fell to Cadman, who’s lethal driven effort was well saved by Heyburn.
The second half began with concerns over the weather conditions, with a thick layer of fog covering the Culver Road skyline. The first chance of the second half fell to Heath, as Kane Louis deflected effort flew just wide of James’ goal. In the next wave of play, substitute Melford Simpson held the ball up nicely before feeding Karl Akehurst, who’s strike rolled inches wide of the post. In the 53rd minute, Heath halved the deficit as Saunders finished neatly following Simpson’s knock down. In the 55th minute, Simon Wormull introduced Steven Sargent to add some calming experience into the middle of the park. In the 59th minute, the Hillians must of thought they’d regained a two-goal lead, but Sean Roddy had other ideas – somehow challenging Smith-Joseph as he rounded Heyburn. Heath, however, were still looking the likely to score next – applying constant pressure to the Hillians back four. That pressure continued, as the Hillians somehow survived a mass goalmouth scramble, with Toure eventually driving the ball to safety. Harding had a chance to make it three, but his effort was once more comfortably saved by Heyburn at his near post. As the game entered the final 15 minutes, it was impossible to call which way it was going to go. In the 79th minute, Simpson was once against causing problems with his aerial presence, but Saunders couldn’t quite keep his effort down following the big forward’s good work. In the 81st minute, Farrell Ryder was introduced for Aaron Smith-Joseph in search for some renewed pace. As the clock struck 86 minutes, the game was halted due to the worsening mist, but after a brief delay was back underway with SEVEN minutes of additional time! However, the drama didn’t end there, as the referee once again (momentarily) stopped play due to the mist. Eventually, the referee blew his whistle for the third and final time!
An incredible performance from every single man in a Hill shirt, as we progress into the final of the Sussex Senior Cup for the first time since 1998!
The Hillians MOTM was awarded to Tom Cadman, who was simply magnificent down the left hand side all evening. But quite frankly, any man in green and black could have been given the plaudits.
Absolutely unbelivable from every single one of you Hillians who reported to Sussex HQ to support the club. Without you, there is no us.
Next up…the league leaders!