The Hillians went in search of a third win from three on the Kent coast, but it wasn't to be...
- Stannard (23')
- Millbank (71')
The Hillians started off the game well and had two good chances to open the scoring; but twice Aaron Smith-Joseph failed to score, heading wide and then being brilliantly thwarted by Dan Eason after some very good football by Jay Lovett’s men. It was the Oystermen who struck first however, as a cheap free kick on the edge of the box was punished superbly by Harry Stannard as he got the ball up and over the wall and into the bottom corner. The goal didn’t deter the Greens however, as they still came forward at will and should of had a penalty as Smith-Joseph was put clean through and taken down cynically…but the referee saw it differently, much to the surprise of the 293 in attendance. Just before the break, Drew Matthews sent a 25-yard free kick inches over – but the half came to a close with the Hill a goal behind.
The second half was slower going for the Hill, with the hosts starting to take control in midfield, making it hard for Jay Lovett’s men to get our foot on the ball. A goalmouth scramble almost ended up doubling the lead but by hook or by crook the ball stayed out! Lady luck was certainly on the Hillians’ side and it showed with our equaliser, an outstanding Smith-Joseph overhead kick was met with an equally outstanding save but unfortunately for Eason, his save ricocheted onto his defender James Brown’s face and the ball trickled over the line. Unfortunately, parity was only restored for three minutes, as once again, a cheap free kick was punished, as this time Aaron Millbank thundering into the top corner to leave debutant, Fynn Talley with absolutely no chance. The young stopper kept the Hillians in the game with a fantastic double reflex save and at this point you felt we just needed one more chance. That chance fell to the usually reliable Pat Harding, who uncharacteristically blasted over from six yards out.
A rare defeat on the road for Jay Lovett’s men – who were ultimately punished for their sloppy mistakes.
Superb efforts, once again, from all you travelling Hillians!
Next up, we travel to the Casuals!
Report by Jack Naldrett.