East Sussex League Division One
Gibbons Memorial Field, Hollington
Admission and Programme: None
Attendance: 47 (head-count)
Match Rating: 4
I resumed my groundhopping silly season this evening, albeit with a late change of venue. I had planned to take in a Kent County League game at Staplehurst monarchs United this evening, however being able to leave work early today, and with Staplehurst playing again on Thursday, at the last minute I changed plans and beaded to the outskirts of Hastings.
Hollington II, reigning champions of Division One but who cannot get promoted as the club's first team are in the Premier Division, went into this game in fourth place in the division, nine points adrift of leaders Sedlescombe Rangers but with three games in hand. Their recent form has been poor though. Before winning last time out, picking up just a point from four games against teams above them (including a double-header against Battle Baptists). Bexhill AAC were a position below their hosts, in fifth place, five points adrift of Hollington having played two games more. They have also been in poor form, losing their last five league games straight. When the two teams met in the reverse fixture in November, Hollington won 0-1, as they did when the clubs met in the league cup in March, on penalties after a 2-2 draw.
On a beautiful evening of blue skies and warm sunshine, although Hollington dominated the game in the first half, Bexhill had the best early chances to score, a rasping drive forcing an excellent fingertip save on four minutes, and on 24 minutes the ball was played low into the area to an unmarked player in a central position 12 yards, but he blazed the ball over the bar. As the half wore on, it was Hollington who created the best chances - on 33 minutes, the ball was rolled across the goalmouth but it couldn't be tapped in at the far post, whilst on 42 minutes, a free kick has headed on towards goal, and although the goalkeeper was blinded by the setting sun, he just managed to react at the last moment to parry the ball wide. On the stroke of half time, the sun contributed to the opening goal for the home side. The Bexhill misjudged the bounce of a long goalkick, just managing to scramble the ball away before it crossed the line and eventually the ball was floated into the goal from about ten yards by Charlie Whybourne.
The second half was a very different affair, with Bexhill now dominating the game and they got back on level terms on 53 minutes. A long diagonal ball forward found the forward to the outer left corner of the area, who took a touch before slotting the ball low across the keeper and into the opposite corner of the net. They almost took the lead on 62 minutes when a corner went through the keeper's hands, but the ball couldn't be forced home. Against the run of play, with virtually their first attack of the half, Hollington went back into the lead with a fabulous goal, Andrew Pegman connecting with a cross into the box with an overhead kick, helping the ball into the net. That really seemed to take the wind out of Bexhill's sails as they barely threatened for the rest of the game, and Hollington had a few chances to extend their lead, but 2-1 was sufficient to keep their faint hopes of retaining theit title alive.