This fixture had already been postponed twice, so the 389 on a cold Wednesday Night were delighted that 3rd time was the charm and they were treated to a cracking cup tie.
To say the Hillians needed a response after Saturday would be an understatement but they started this game extremely brightly and created the games first attempt. A long ball down the left saw Hayden Skerry get in behind and he pulled the ball back to the edge of the area where captain Lewis Taylor looked to curl one bottom corner and it drew a fine low save from former Hillian loanee Fynn Talley. The Albions first attempt of the game also came in the opening 10 minutes, a lovely through ball was played to new BHAFC acquisition, Mark O’Mahony but he fired straight at Will Huffer who also reacted quickest to gobble the rebound. Albeit early doors but the Hill were playing full of energy and hurrying the technically gifted Albion youngsters, Hayden Skerry latched onto a sloppy pass at the back and he forced Talley to tip over his fierce drive from 18 yards out. From the resulting corner, we almost took the lead in bizarre fashion. The corner was half cleared to the edge of the box where Lewis Taylor seemed to miss kick his cross back in to the area but it actually had Fynn Talley scrambling and he was delighted to see the ball wallop his crossbar and be cleared rather than him be embarrassed. Another half chance came and went when a dangerous set piece came all the way to the far post where Lewis Finney couldn’t convert in what was a tough chance. Brighton were perhaps a tad fortunate not to of been behind but they almost took the lead when a Jamie Mullins cross was met by the head of Mark O’Mahony but he headed straight at the HuffMan. Fynn Talley played 7 games for the Hill on loan a couple of seasons ago but he certainly wasn’t in the mood to be doing us any favours, making an outstanding save. Martyn Box whipped a gorgeous free kick which was met by Hayden Skerry who headed it powerfully downward and it looked in but a strong low paw from Talley clawed it away expertly. Unfortunately for Fynn, he could do nothing about Hayden’s next header just a minute later. Albion kept giving away soft free kicks and they got punished, Connor Tighe produced the magic, whipping a beauty of a set piece in and Skerry got to the near post and sent a bullet header past Talley before he could blink. The equalising goal in the 37th minute came out of the blue really, one mesmerising through ball from Jack Hinchy saw Jamie Mullins inbehind and he didn’t even take a touch, dinking Will Huffer as he came out to meet him and nestling it into the bottom corner. That boy Mullins could of sent Albion into a first half lead, Baker-Boaitey fed him 18 yards out, he danced past a couple before dragging his shot wide of Huffers post.
The second half almost started with Lewis Finney scoring the goal of the year. Brighton gave it away cheaply again at the back but Finney pounced, saw Fynn Talley off his line and from just inside his own half looked to lob him and my word he was centimetres away from doing so, the ball crashing back off the post. Incredible effort and incredibly unlucky. The second half wasn’t quite living up to the exciting billing of the first 45 but Brighton did threaten on the hour mark when the dangerous Baker-Boaitey switched the play over to the left where substitute Josh Duffus had the freshest of legs and ran at the Hill back line before getting to the edge of the area and testing Huffer but it was a relatively comfortable save for the ex Leeds stopper. The game was ebbing and flowing back and forth with both teams not content with the possibilities of a penalty shootout, Sam Remfry picked the ball up on the left hand side and spotted Connor Tighe bursting down the right hand side, he played an inch perfect pass right onto the boot of Tighe but his well struck volley was also straight at the GK and Talley beat it away. Jay Lovett used this game to fill his bench with a couple of promising youngsters and 16 year old Harry Lawson came on midway through the second half for his Hill debut and almost made the second goal. His tenacious play won the ball back and found Sam Remfry who only had a shot in his mind and from 25 yards out he wasn’t far away, whistling his effort just past Talley’s post as he was at full stretch. Hayden Skerry was having himself some game leading the line in the absence of the Hitman. He had 3 Albion defenders surrounding him down by the corner flag but somehow managed to twist and turn his way out and fashioned himself a shooting chance which was well saved by Talley. Gary Dicker and his team were starting to look towards the bench to unlock the Hill defence once more, substitute Ben Wilson looked to curl home from range after a sloppy Hill clearance but he curled straight into Huffman’s paws. As the game was drawing to a close, Brighton were getting more and more threatening, only a cracking point blank reaction save from Huffer denied an Albion man after a neat through ball from Baker Boaitey. Lewis Finney came within a whisker of scoring a worldie in the first half and he almost did it again here when he won the ball and looked to catch Talley off his line, unfortunately this one was not quite as accurate and thankfully for Talley, it sailed over. The game looked destined for a shootout until Baker-Boaitey went in behind, rounded Huffer, then beat a couple of defenders for good measure before smashing into the empty net.
A pretty cruel end to what was overall, a display that Jay Lovett will be very pleased with. More minutes in the tank, youngsters impressing and a big gate through the doors to boot.
Next up is a huge trip to the capital where take on VCD Athletic with both teams looking to finally win in 2023.