On an absolutely baltic Tuesday evening, the Hillians welcomed Uxbridge to the More Than Tyres Stadium for a Velocity Trophy First Round clash. The visitors from West London are flying high towards the top of the Isthmian League South Central and with Burgess Hill on a great run of their own, an exciting match was anticipated. It was the Hillians with the first chance of the game, Lewis Finney was set clear down the right hand side and he showed wonderful composure to pick out Lewis Taylor on the edge of the box but Taylor lacked that same composure his name sake showed as he blazed over from 18 yards. On a freezing cold evening and with the brave attendees needing something to warm them up, Reggie Ward almost provided it for them. Storming down the right hand side, beating everyone with his pace and trickery, he got towards the box and looked to pick out Trey Masikini at the far post but his cross was inches ahead of him. Midway through the first half we almost opened the scoring. A Nic D’Arienzo free kick was plum on the head of skipper Scott Kirkwood but his bullet header was straight at visiting keeper Eric Negaru. Moments later, Taylor Seymour managed to defrost and was called into action as the visitors threatened to take the lead on the stroke of half time.
The second half started in pretty calamitous fashion for the Hillians – conceding after just 6 minutes. Harry Pollard played a pass back to Taylor Seymour but the ball bobbled over the foot of Seymour and rolled into the empty net. Uxbridge went close to doubling their lead but saw their effort fly high and wide, which was a common theme in this match. Trey Masikini was the next culprit to fire high and wide as he tried to spark the Hillians back into life. Halfway through the second half, Scott Kirkwood got on the end of an inviting Hayden Skerry cross but he did at least hit the target, unfortunately it was straight at keeper Negaru as the Hillians pressure started to mount. If he should have scored the his first attempt he absolutely should have converted his second. Substitute Charlie Kelly did brilliantly to breeze past 2 Uxbridge defenders with his dancing feet and he fired a ball across the box which just needed a touch, Kirkwood’s touch should have done the trick but the ball ricochet off his shin and away from danger. With 10 minutes to go, Jay Lovett’s men did find their equaliser. A lovely defence splitting ball from Hayden Skerry saw full back Reggie Ward scamper onto it and the youngster showed wonderful composure to slot underneath the onrushing keeper to level things up and send us to penalties for the second time this season.
The Hillians enjoyed shootout success earlier in the campaign versus Sevenoaks Town and they repeated the same trick thanks to 2 Taylor Seymour saves; with Scott Kirkwood, Lewis Finney, Reggie Ward, Charlie Kelly and Trey Masikini all scoring to send the Hill through where we will play Ashford United away in the next round.
Next up, it’s back to the bread and butter of the league as we travel to Herne Bay!