It was a sad weekend for the footballing community of Hastings with the death of Chris Tutt writes Dave Grass. Although we don’t think that he ever appeared in a Hollington Utd shirt, Chris was a very talented footballer – up there with the best that this town has produced. Our thoughts are with his family at this sad time.
All five Hollington teams were in action for the first time in months. Scott and Andy’s 1st team entertained Rye Town in the quarter finals of the Hastings Intermediate Cup, in what was always going to be a bit of a feisty match and a crowd of around 150 people weren’t disappointed.
Hollington 1sts 1 Rye 0
So, a first home game since the Lions dismantled County 2 high flyers Rustington, this game and cup was always going to be a tough one to retain. With no fewer than ten players unavailable it again proved what a squad of players the Lions have at their disposal.
The game started how the last one finished; at a very high tempo with some tackles which wouldn’t have looked out of place in the 70’s. A couple of early bookings calmed things down a bit after Rye had started the game better. Had it not been for some ‘superb’ keeping from the Lions back-up keeper, and wayward shooting, Rye could have been ahead.
Then the Lions started to get into the game, and the change of formation seemed to take a while to get used to but like Rye, Hollington was guilty of missing chances.
Glenn Woodhurst had three headers he would usually bury, and Dan Hull again showed why Chelsea are showing an interest in him by going close and causing mayhem on the left-hand side. He did find the back of the net after a sweeping move from Frazer Fitchett and Sam White but was ruled out offside.
So, half time 0-0 and apart from a slow start the game plan was working to a tee.
The second half again started at a high tempo and again both sides were guilty of missing decent chances with the Lions keeper in inspired form.
Then the only genuine bit of football, an assist from the keeper as he passed the ball to Fitchett who in return found Grant Payne. He then flicked the ball out to White for him to fire in a cross to Jan Bailey who was making his first team debut, and coolly rounded the keeper to slot home.
Rye could have equalised straight away but again found the agile keeper unbeatable. The game then became open which suited the Lions who should have added a second, but in the end a great game finished (after ten minutess of injury time) and with another semi-final for the Lions to look forward to.
Credit to the referee who handled the game very well and used his cards and common sense when needed. For the Lions, the players were superb, with no recognised centre forward they stuck to their jobs very well.
Coleman Construction Man of the Match could have gone to anyone to be fair, but Grant Payne edged it with an outstanding performance.
Northiam 5 Hollington 2nds 4
Kev and Grassy took the seconds out to play high flying Northiam – who are top of the division above the Lions – in the Quarter Finals of the Hastings Junior Cup.
With the same problem as the first team as a few players were out for various reasons, the Lions drafted in some of the youth section for the game and started with five players from the U18s and U21s. This didn’t seem to have any affect on the team as they soon raced in to a 2-0 lead with goals from Dan Kearly and Jay Edwards. Edwards then thought he’d added a third without reply but this was ruled out for offside.
The pace and movement of the front two of Jay and Rhys Warren continued to trouble the Northiam back line, with both Kearly and Sean Lennard on the wings working hard to support them.
The Northiam front line hardly troubled the Lions defence who were superbly marshalled by Shawsy. In fact, it was only an injury to Brandon Kovacs that seemed to unsettle the Lions and Northiam took advantage and scored just before half time to make it 2-1.
Kicking up hill on a pitch that was heavy and beginning to cut up was always going to be tough and Northiam showed their experience and scored two quick goals to put themselves in front. Undeterred, back came the Lions with Kearly getting his second of the game to bring the scores back level again.
Back came Northiam again and another two quick goals seemed to put the tie beyond doubt with only 15 mins remaining. However, a change of formation and back came the Lions. Kelvin Lowes found space in the box and using all his 41 years of experience, slotted home to make it 5-4 to the opposition. This seemed to worry Northiam as for the remaining ten minutes they tried to play for time whenever possible and despite a couple more chances, the score stayed as it was.
A fair result in the end and Northiam were worthy winners as they had struck the woodwork a couple of times, but a great performance from the Lions with a mixture of youth and experience.
Several players are worthy of the Martin and Bowles Man of the Match award – Bailey Cheshire made some great saves in goal and despite his age, was talking to his back line all game long. George Murray had a solid game at right back, and despite a heavy cold Kearly had a great game at right midfield along with chipping in a couple of goals. Despite this though the MOTM award went to Jay Edwards – frightening pace and movement up front and unlucky not to get a hat-trick.
Rottingdean 8 Hollington U21s 5
The U21s had a tricky game away to Rottingdean, and things weren’t helped when their goalkeeper’s car broke down and he never made it to the game.
With two players injured after appearing for the seconds the day before, and a further two players pulling out at 8am that morning, it was even tougher.
Despite all this the Lions matched Rottingdean stride for stride, and goals from Jordan Uba, Rhys Morfee and Kieran Stocker made it 3-3 at half time, although the opposition should have had a player dismissed for a very late challenge on Rhys Morfee after he was clean through on goal. The young Lions battled hard in the second half with two further goals from Uba, however with no subs they eventually lost 8-5 to a team two divisions above them who are joint top in the Premier div.
A2B Man of the Match was Ryan Dooner.
Hollington U18s 3 Perrywood 3
The U18s had a mid-table clash against Perrywood and scored within the first ten minutess with a goal from the in-form Sean Howard.
Jack Herbert made it two after 20 minutess with a lovely chip over the goalie. Perrywood pulled a goal back before half time after a poor tackle on the Lions keeper that the ref deemed a fair challenge. Perrywood came out in the second half with their tails up and got a quick equaliser from a mistake in defence. They then went further ahead from a poor free kick which the Lions keeper thought was going wide, but the ball rolled into far corner of the net.
Dan Hull was then issued a yellow card, which was swiftly followed by a red after a ‘discussion’ with the ref. When questioned by one of the Lions players why he had sent Dan off the ref took offence at this and proceeded to send a second Lions player off. That put the Lions down to nine players and they had to fight for the next 25 mins to stop the opposition going further ahead while still trying to equalise. This they duly did with ten mins to go when Sean Howard managed to slot the equaliser into the net.
Raw Skills 2 Hollington U16s 1
The U16s travelled away to play second in the table Raw Skills. The last outing saw the Lions defeated 8-1, so in this match, only fielding nine players they knew the odds were against them.
The young Lions didn’t seem to be bothered by the lack of players and went at the opposition in what turned out to be a great game. With the opposition scoring first after 30 mins, the Lions battled back, and Evan Crang scored after a goal mouth scramble to make it 1-1 at half time.
In the second half the battle continued, and the Lions continued to attack and defend with equal gusto. With 20 minutes to go and in what was a controversial goal, Raw Skill scored to take the lead again. Despite some heavy pressure from the Lions they couldn’t force the equaliser and eventually ran out losing 2-1.
It was impossible to pick out a Man of the Match as all nine players deserved credit – Adam Akar, Alfie McDougall, Dylan Laverick, Aaron Durling, Jack Dell, Evan Crang, Regan Constable, Alfie Lyne and Cameron Woodley.