If you told any of the 644 (!) in attendance that both teams would celebrate an end of season 0-0 draw like we’d all just won the EuroMillions, I’m not sure many would have believed you. Football remains the funniest of games…
It was a battle of the leagues top 2 goalscorers this afternoon, with Louis Theophanous needing 2 goals to go level with Dan Perry and share the crown, and Beckenham’s Greek God was a lick of paint away from putting the London outfit ahead. The Becks won a free kick on the left hand side of the box, perfect for the man called ‘King Louis’ by all in red, he stepped up, beat the wall but saw his effort crash off the underside of the crossbar, and fortunately not over the line. The rebound even fell to visiting skipper Danny Waldren but he made a proper dogs dinner of it and slashed high and wide from just a matter of yards. Early let off for Hill. It was an entertaining, fairly even first opening quarter and Max Miller had the Hill’s first sight of goal. A corner was flapped at by Nick Blue and it came to Miller at the far post. He looked to curl one into the far corner, it took a big deflection and had to be headed off the line by Archie Johnson. From the resulting corner, an even better chance came and went. A delicious ball in landed right on the head of the kangaroo, Martyn Box, he leapt and nodded inches over the crossbar. Martyn looked in the mood and created another good chance all for himself. He picked up a sloppy Becks pass in our own half and just simply kept on running, marching all the way into the Becks box but sadly he lacked the finish and sliced wide. The back and forth nature of this one continued, that man Theophanous definitely should have done better when a deep cross to the back stick fell to him but he very tamely headed comfortably wide.
Truth be told, the second half was less bright than the first. As it stood at the break, the Hill were staying up and Beckenham were getting play offs. Neither team knew wether to stick or twist and it showed on the pitch. The first real effort of note came in the 67th minute when Hill failed to deal with a long throw, Waldren flicked it forward to Theophanous and with only Huffer to beat, you feared the worst. Never doubt the Huffman. Out flew Huffer, spread-eagling himself as big as he could to thwart the Becks No10. As best it got second half chance wise for Hill, was a Max Miler cross which bounced off the top of the crossbar. Still both teams were holding on, just. With the game drawing to a close, a huge handball cry went up from the visitors, and Hill might’ve just got away with one. A free kick was swung in, it was flicked on and smashed into the outstretched arm of Lewis Taylor. The gaffer knew absolutely nothing about it, but you have seen them given. Thankfully, this one wasn’t. Relief. Breathed. Beckenham substitute Freddie Nyhus was extremely bright and bubbly when he came on and he forced Huffer into a smart low save before down the other end, Max Miller headed over from a corner for the Hill.
Quite incredibly, all the drama came at FT. As our game finished, Beckenham were out the play offs due to Cray Valley winning…. Except Sheppey equalised with the last kick of the game, which meant Beckenham leapfrogged them, to snatch a playoff game against Whitehawk. As for the Hill, it was nothing short of torturous agony. We finished about 10 minutes before East Grinstead Vs VCD somehow, and if VCD got a late winner, they would stay up and we would play the relegation play off. The wait was endless, with all the players and fans gathering by the Ashley Carr but eventually, the news filtered in that the Hill had survived and the relief was simply extraordinary.
Nobody was celebrating the season. Everyone was celebrating that this sleeping giant was given a second chance. One we firmly intend to take next season….
To our loyal fans. We can’t say thank you enough. Finishing third in average attendance, rising over 10% from last season from 400 to 443, with the season we have put you through, is staggering. Bigger and better things are coming. Onwards. And upwards. Together. See you in 2023/24.