The Hillians arrived at Hythe Town full of confidence after an impressive victory over Ashford United but no one could quite predict what would unfold later in the evening. Jay Lovett named an unchanged XI, but it was the hosts who had the first real opening, as Charlie Webster waltzed past a static midfield far too easily and was allowed to get within shooting distance before trying his luck, with Taylor Seymour alive to the danger making his first save of the night. Our first foray forward came through Reggie Ward, he got inside the box and it looked as if he had a clean opening on goal but as he shot, a Hythe man did very well to hurl himself in front of his effort to keep the scores level…for now. The opening 15 minutes were reletively end to end, Jordan Sarbo thought he had got in behind the Hillians defence until Nic D’Arienzo came on his blind save and produced a tremendous last ditch challenge which he had to get right and did. In the 19th minute, the hosts took the lead. A misplaced pass in midfield set Hythe away up the other end, the dangerous Sarbo managed to whip a low cross in which Josh Spinks could only divert into his own net. The Kent outfit were ahead for approximately 2 minutes. Reggie Ward danced his way down the right before digging out an inch perfect cross for Michael Uwezu to head home, right into the bottom corner. As was true to this hectic game, back came Hythe. They picked up a soft free kick on the edge of the box and hit it low and hard and Seymour was forced to scramble across his goal but thankfully for the Hill it just skidded wide. On the half hour mark, the Hillians went infront. Lovely play down the left from Tom Chalaye saw him pull the ball across to Uwezu, who took his time, turned his man and toe poked it home. There was virtually no time for the travelling contingent to burst into song before Tom Chalaye made it 3-1! A lovely cross field ball was controlled brilliantly, he cut inside his man and curled a glorious left footed shot past a despairing Henry Newcombe who got a hand to it but couldn’t keep it out. Hythe were absolutely stunned by 3 quick fire goals and needed to get back in the game. Once again we almost gave them a way into it, another misplaced pass was intercepted and Tyler Sterling fired across Seymour but wide of the far post. On the stroke of half-time, it was almost 4 through some delicious free flowing football. Hayden Skerry found Uwezu, he set up Tom Chalaye who’s effort was really well saved by Newcombe in the Hythe net.
The Hillians started the second half on the front foot, determined to end our unwanted midweek away record. Reggie Ward got himself into a good position before firing wide when perhaps an extra pass to Skerry was the right option. Our charismatic captain, Lewis Taylor has been amongst the goals recently and he almost got another, his shot from 20 yards took a wicked deflection and had Newcombe scrambling but it dropped just wide of the post. It was 4-1 moments later however. The men in green won the ball back and broke, Hayden Skerry was slipped through one on one by Uwezu and he made no mistake, tucking it through the helpless Newcombe’s legs who could do nothing about what was unfolding in front of him. Usually, the Hillians don’t do comfortable victories but they seemed to be heading towards one here! Fresh from the bench, Super Pat Harding almost made it 5 when he headed a corner onto the roof of the net. Hythe almost got a consolation goal when a low cross was whipped in by Sarbo, it got a nick and wrong footed everyone, everyone except Seymour who somehow managed to claw it off the line. That save was made even sweeter when we burst up the other end and made it 5. Tom Chalaye almost broke the net when he was played in on the right and without even taking a touch he smashed the ball past Newcombe at his near post, right in the upper echelons to seal the deal. Full credit to our hosts who kept battling until the end, another long range effort was almost a concern for Seymour but it dipped just too late and sailed over the bar. Lewis Finney was again instrumental in our midfield 3 and was really unlucky not to make it 6 when he curled an effort inches past the post in our final effort of the evening.
Jay Lovett’s merry men have enjoyed a renaissance these past 2 months. From sitting bottom of the league back in mid-October, they have turned it around to being sniffing around the play-off chasing pack – picking up an impressive 21 from their last 10 games.
A 5-1 away victory at Hythe Town for our first midweek league away win for over 4 years will do nothing but breed confidence and belief that these young Hillians all have a bright future at this club and in the game, under the due diligence of a coaching staff who are hungry for success.
Next up, we turn our attention to Phoenix Sports on Saturday afternoon!