The Hillians started the game on the front foot, and could have been in front in the 16th minute, if it wasn’t for a superb piece of defending from Robert Jamison to deny Pat Harding. It was in fact the hosts who took the lead, three minutes later, as Jack Tucker finished off a clinical counter attack. Aaron Smith-Joseph thought he had, instantaneously, pulled his side level, but his goal was ruled out for offside by the officials. Smith-Joseph then proceeded to force a smart save out of veteran, Daniel Bracken, before Mason Doughty’s low shot trickled inches wide of the far corner. Two sharp saves from Fynn Talley ensured that the Hillians went in at the break just a goal down.
The Casuals came out the blocks flying, and were awarded a penalty in the 55th minute. But, the post came to the Hillians’ rescue and the deficit remained just one. Five minutes later, Aaron Smith-Joseph made the hosts pay, as his driven effort nestled passed Bracken and into the bottom corner. In the 77th minute, Jay Lovett’s men turned the game on its head, as Mason Doughty’s stunning strike flew into the upper echelon to give the Hillians the lead. The men in white saw the game out brilliantly to book their place in the Second Round.
A terrific performance from the Hillians, who claim the scalp of Isthmian League Premier opposition and book themselves a tie with fellow Sussex side, Horsham in the next round.
A massive thank you to all of you Hillians who made the trip to support the club.
Next up, Kent again!