It’s not quite clicked in the league for Jay Lovett and his boys thus far, so perhaps a short deluge of cup competitions can be a welcome distraction as we aimed to get our season up and running in South London.
Burgess Hill have fond memories of playing Casuals and indeed playing at King George’s Field, with the Hill having lost only once in our last 9 meetings with the Tolworth team. Perhaps this was a stat that Tony Reid’s team knew about as our hosts had the first chance of the game when a deflected shot whistled just a whisker wide of Will Huffers post. It was an entertaining and quite open opening quarter but the big early chances were falling for Casuals but more importantly being saved by Will Huffer. A Pink and Brown man found himself one on one but Will Huffer was quickly out to close the gap and eventually stop the shot, even if he saved it with a place he rather wish he hadn’t! The deadlock was broken on the half hour mark and it was the Hillians who got it. Hayden Skerry did really well on the counter attack to carry the ball and win a free kick right in Lewis Finney territory, Finney stepped up and proved exactly why it’s his territory as he curled the ball brilliantly into the top corner leaving Sami Nabaad in the goal helpless. That goal only seemed to boost an already buoyant Hill, Connor Tighe whipped a corner onto the head of Harry Pollard but he flashed his header wide of the target. As the half was drawing to the close, our hosts were rather wishing for the halftime whistle as the Hill were rampant! Max Miller broke down the right and whipped in a cross which took a wicked deflection, crashed back off the crossbar and as it did so, it hit Lewis Finney on the knee and the ball then struck the post and somehow not in the goal hole. Chaos and Carnage. Unfortunately for Casuals, that HT whistle wasn’t forthcoming and the teamtalk was made even tougher for them as Hitman Dan struck. The Hill just have a knack of keeping the ball alive and they did so here with the ball eventually reaching Dan Perry. He turned his defender inside out before bending a delicious curling effort into the bottom corner right on HT to double the Hillians advantage.
Coming out for the second half with a 2-0 lead is sometimes a bit of strange curse in football, an early goal for the chasing team and the game is well and truly back on. Both teams knew what a precarious scoreline this was and our hosts started the second half much brighter and on the front foot. Will Huffer was going to be busy this second half and his first point of call was making a stunning reaction save as a corner came in and deflected off of someone in the box before Huffer just stuck out a hand to keep the ball from entering the goal. The first 15 second half minutes were safely negotiated but the home side were pressing. A cross from the right hand side was met flush on the volley but luckily for Hill it flew straight into the arms of the HuffMan. There was however, nothing he could do on this next occasion to stop the ball going into his net. The Hillians struggled to properly clear a corner and it came to Benjamin Cheklit on the right hand side of the box, wether this was a low cross or a very accurate shot, we don’t know but either way his effort beat everyone and nestled into the bottom corner to halve the arrears. As you can imagine after a team gets back into a game, the tails were up and Hill just needed to weather this storm. The hosts almost got back on level terms when a Casual found himself one on one with Huffer but once again Will came out on top, thwarting the attempted chip before captain Josh Spinks cleared the danger. To say Hill had backs against the walls would sum it up, two more times the Hillians were indebted to their brilliant GK in quick succession to keep our lead in tact heading into the final embers in Tolworth. With just 6 minutes to go the most almighty of almighty scrambles occurred when the ball just seemed to get lost in the melee of players around the goaline, the Hillians were just hoping they didn’t hear the roar of the ground and luckily, they didn’t as Will Huffer practically fell onto the soccer ball and a throughly deserved, if not slightly nerve jangling Emirates FA Cupset was secured.
Hillians Hillians, Boing Boing. Goals from Lewis Finney and Dan Perry sees the Hill safely through to Monday afternoons 2nd qualifying round draw!
Next up, it’s more cup action, this time in the FA Trophy as we make the daunting trip to East Suffolk to face Felixstowe&Walton United!