Jay Lovett’s men are used to the journey to Kent, as is the nature of the Isthmian South East these days. What they aren’t used to, is below par performances on a forgettably miserable afternoon at the home of the Lilywhites.
Faversham’s missile-like intentions were clear straight from the off as a long throw was absolutely launched into the Hillians box and immediately we looked uncomfortable, after a few attempts at clearing it, the ball fell to ex-Hillian Tyrell Richardson-Brown who lashed over on the turn. The hosts clearly were after a fast start as another chance came and went, Reggie Ward was caught out and the hosts broke down the left, Marshall Wratten’s scooped effort eventually dropped just wide of Will Huffers goal as the Hill looked to ride the early onslaught. Burgess Hill had to wait until the 21st minute before they registered a shot, Tom Chalaye had it but his tame free kick was comfortable for Patrik Ohman to fall upon. The way the first half was playing out, you felt it was only a matter of time before the Salters Lane faithful was greeted with an opening goal and on the half hour mark the deadlock was broken. If you watched a compilation of how to deal with set pieces, you won’t be met by Burgess Hills attempts to clear the latest Faversham long throw. As they had all game, the hosts picked up the second ball and got it out wide left, the cross was whipped into the whirling wind and they were quite literally queuing up at the back stick; it was nodded back where it came from with Will Huffer in no man’s land and Matt Bourne had the easiest goal of his long career, nodding home from on the goaline. Unfortunately for Hill, 1 became 2 just 7 minutes later, the only surprise was it wasn’t a long throw. A corner from the left hand side was whizzed to the back post where Stefan Wright was free as a bird to nod past the helpless Huffer to double the whites advantage. The hosts were rampant as it was almost 3, Harry Harding only being denied by a quite brilliant Will Huffer fingertip save which drew rapturous applause from everyone inside the ground.
The first half wasn’t great but surely the Hillians could only improve and make a game of it. Hmm. The second half started with more frantic last ditch defending, Reggie Ward having to get very flexible to stretch and clear the ball from crossing the line for a third time. The only change from the first 45 was unfortunately not on the performance but in the wind, it had really whipped up strong and second half conditions were not easy going. Corners and free headers, a worrying theme at the back in this encounter, where the ball spent more time in the air than actually on the floor, Matt Bourne should of got his second but he headed wide when left unmarked from 10 yards. Chances offensively for the yellows were about as frequent as flying pigs but they did snuffle one out of nothing when Pat Hardings corner was flicked on by Lewis Finney and when Tom Chalaye found himself virtually on the goaline, you would’ve imagined the end result would of been goal; alas he got to underneath it and saw it fly over the bar. Time and Hill hope was ticking away with every passing moment but in truth, the likely scorer of the third goal was always the hosts. They thought they got it with 12 minutes remaining when yet another corner wasn’t dealt with and they slammed home after Huffer dropped the ball but thankfully the linesman had his flag up and the tiniest flicker of a Hill renaissance remained burning. Offensively for Hill, it just wasn’t clicking. Tom Chalaye robbed a sleepy Alex Giles down the left, his cut back to the edge of the box was perfect for either Lewis Taylor or sub Hayden Skerry. Unfortunately, instead of communicating with each other, both did the chuckle brothers ‘to me, to you’ and left it for one another and the ball just rolled agonisingly past both of them to the sheer frustration of everyone rooting for Hill. Sub Charlie Kelly looked to provide any sort of spark to an overall faulty display, his endeavour and perseverance good, his finish not so as Ohman, who was a spectator for large portions of the game, easily saved and that was the last thing the travelling Hill massive, big in numbers yet again, had to endure, and I mean. Endure.
Hillians, so good recently for so long, need to rediscover that winning formula again because more showings like this will undoubtedly not be tolerated by Jay Lovett and his coaching staff.
Next up, we look to ‘ram’ home that winning feeling again on home soil as we welcome play-off hopefuls Ramsgate to the More Than Tyres.