Simon Wormull handed league debuts to Billy Collings, Noe Vendrells-Parcerisa, Drew Matthews, Max Miller, Warren Mfula and Ryan Palmer.
The game started slowly, with the first real chance falling to the visitors, as Chris Kinnear’s audacious effort fell straight into the arms of Billy Collings. The Hillians’ opening opportunity fell to Warren Mfula, in the 14th minute, who’s strike was deflected into the grasp of the Hythe stopper following some great work by Ryan Palmer down the flank. In the 25th minute, the Hillians opened their account for the new season as some more fantastic work from Palmer was finished off beautifully by Mfula. Just three minutes later, that lead was doubled as Max Miller tucked home after Mfula’s effort was well blocked. The visitors squandered a golden opportunity to halve the deficit, in the 36th minute, as Luke Blewden headed over from two yards out. However, four minutes later, the lead was halved as Thomas Carlton finished off a sharp counter attack. The Hillians ensured they took a two-goal lead into the break, as that man Miller turned in Palmer’s teasing delivery.
(Hold onto your hats, things are about to get interesting!)
Both sides began the second half fairly quietly – considering the pace of the opening forty-five. In the 57th minute, Miller completed his hat-trick as he converted Aaron Smith-Joseph’s cross. Anything Max could do, Warren could do to, as the number nine doubled his tally for the afternoon, in the 61st minute, turning home from Noe Vendrells-Parcerisa’s wicked cross. Simon Wormull introduced Josh Short for the hat-trick hero, Max Miller – who rightfully recieved a standing ovation from the whole crowd. In the 73rd minute, Mfula completed a hat-trick of his own after some brilliant work from the substitute Short. In the 77th minute, Wormull made a double switch, introducing Andrew Briggs and Steve Sargent. As the game looked to be petering to a close, Warren Mfula had other ideas, as he rounded off his afternoon with a fourth. The drama didn’t end there, as the visitors were awarded a penalty in the dying embers, which Frannie Collin squeezed past Collings to end a crazy opening day!
Well, who expected that?!
The Hillians MOTM was awarded to Max Miller, who scored the Hillians’ first hat-trick of the season – with his goals coming at crucial points in the game.
A massive thank you to every single one of you Hillians who turned out to support the club yesterday afternoon.
Next up, a midweek Sussex derby!