Jay Lovett’s men twice fought back from a goal down, but ended up on the receiving end of a late sucker punch – leaving empty handed.
The hosts got off to a dream start, as Kane Phillip was given too much room down the left flank, as he cut inside and arrowed his shot into the bottom corner to give his side the lead after just seven minutes. The Hillians were almost level, ten minutes later, as Scott Kirkwood and Nathan Cooper both came close from set-pieces. On the half-hour mark, the Hillians were level. Alex Laing collected the ball and drove at the Hythe back-line, before curling a beauty over the helpless Patrick Lee. The half drew to a close with a chance a piece, with Frannie Collin and Harry Pollard both coming close.
Jay Lovett’s men should have been level within minutes of the restart, but Kirkwood’s effort trickled inches wide of the far post. However, in the 49th minute, the Kent side were ahead once more – with Phillip heading home his second of the game. The Hillians continued to press for an equaliser, but the hosts remained organised and looked set to see out the victory. With just seven minutes to go, there was an equaliser! A dangerous corner caused havoc inside the home six-yard box, with the ball eventually bouncing over the line following a series of ricochets. Unfortunately, delight was short lived, as the hosts snatched all three points courtesy of a Collin header in the dying embers.
A difficult journey to start the season, but nevertheless a frustrating afternoon for the Hillians – who would have been content with an opening day point.
Next up, we switch to FA Cup action with a trip to Cray Valley PM.
Report by Jack Naldrett.