A real credit must go to the hosts for preparing a lovely surface despite all the recent heavy rainfall, and ensuring the Beacon was COVID-safe ahead of our visit.
The first meaningful chance of the game fell to the hosts, as Charlie Pitcher’s effort was fantastically blocked by Josh Spinks. From that moment onwards, the Hillians sparked into life. Pat Harding opened the scoring in the 9th minute, sliding home following Martyn Box’s testing delivery. The lead was doubled in the 16th minute, as Aaron Smith-Joseph waltzed his way through the Hassocks backline before slotting his effort in at the near post. Two instantly became three just moments later, resulting in the biggest cheer of the afternoon, as the returning Connor Tighe smashed home after some fine work from Jordi Ndozid and Samson Doherty. In the 36th minute, Doherty was bought down inside the area, before picking himself up and placing his penalty into the bottom corner to make it four. It was five soon after, as Tighe grabbed his second of the afternoon – blazing home from close range. The hosts grabbed one back on the stroke of half-time, as a momentary lapse in concentration from the Hillians defence, as Pitcher was pulled down inside the area. Jack Troak stepped up and slotted his penalty beyond Alfie Jones.
Jay Lovett had the luxury of making nine changes at the break to give everyone in the squad some minutes, with only Jones and Spinks remaining from the first half XI. Andrew Herring almost grabbed a sixth in acrobatic style – but his volley was unfortunately straight at the keeper. Max Miller was next to try his luck in audacious fashion, spotting the Robins keeper off his line, but his dinked effort sailed over the crossbar. Jones was called into action for the first time midway through the second half, blocking well with his feet to deny the Robins. With fifteen minutes remaining, Nathan Cooper grabbed the Hillians’ sixth – poking home at the back post. It was soon seven, as Miller converted from the spot after being brought down inside the area. Perhaps the best goal of the afternoon was saved for last, as Tom Chalaye deliciously curled his effort into the far corner to cap off a brilliant afternoon.
All in all, a very welcome return for the Hillians, but most imporantly, a fabulous record £1500 raised for St Peter & St James Hospice.
Next up, it’s another friendly as we welcome Lewes to the More Than Tyres Stadium on Saturday 12th December.