It was a nail biting season finale for Hollington United FC’s first team on Saturday as the Lions went in to their final match needing a win to secure the top spot in the league.
What a season it had been and a remarkable achievement against the odds. It’s the players who deserve the credit, they were unbeaten in the league all season and won the Hastings Intermediate cup to complete the double that they achieved last season too.
A club spokesman says it is the strength in depth of the players at the club this year that has been evident in the youth team players who have represented both the senior teams, to the extent that in the latter part of the season, half the second team was from the U21s, U18s and U16s
The club is also very grateful to its supporters and sponsors.
The final games for both the senior Lions teams were finally played on Sat afternoon and they didn’t disappoint.
Hollinton United FC 2nds – 3
Sovereign Saints – 3
Kev and Grassy’s seconds were the warm up act against a strong Sovereign Saints side and the Lions needed either a 12 goal win to clinch the Division 2 title or just a win to finish as runners up.
After losing in the cup final midweek to a 90th minute goal the lads needed to pick themselves up for a big performance and they had the better of the opening exchanges with Jay Edward’s pace troubling the Saints back line.
However, the Saints then got two quick goals and with 20 mins gone it wasn’t looking good.
With Rhys Morfee slowly getting into the game, the Lions then got one back as Rhys strode forward and his shot from 20 yards crept in. Now on the front foot, the Lions continued to attack and Graham Stovell scored yet another long distance goal to draw the teams level at half time.
The break didn’t help the Lions as they struggled to get back into their rhythm until Stovell once again burst forward and put the Lions 3-2 up, and given the chances they’d had in the game, was well deserved. Unfortunately once again they fell to a late goal as with only four minutes left, a goal mouth scramble saw the Saints equalise. So 3-3, a better performance than the cup final and ultimately finished third, as Icklesham beat Mayfield to secure second place.
Dynamic Scaffolding Man of the Match was Graham Stovell.
Hollinton United FC first team – 5
Sidley – 3
After Wednesday night’s amazing comeback, and playing a fourth game in seven days against a very good Sidley United side, Scott and Andy’s first team knew only a win would see them crowned champions.
Another crowd of over 200 came hoping to see another goalfest and they were not to be disappointed.
The Lions started on fire when Ashley Kidman went through and after a great save from the Sidley ‘keeper, Grant Payne was on hand to tap in. What a start, and it seemed the Lions were in the mood. But it just wouldn’t be Hollington if we made it easy. They then decided to press the self destruct button and within 15 minutes found themselves 2-1 down.
With the Sidley ‘keeper in inspired form and Hollington being guilty of missing guilt edge chances, the half time whistle blew and the Lions found themselves 2-1 down. The last half time team talk of the season was probably the loudest with Thomo being heard as far as Battle!
The Lions again started on the front foot, but yet again struggled to find the back of the net. As the frustration and nerves were sensed on the pitch and from the loyal supporters, it was time for the first substitutions.
On came Callum Smith and Sam White, who instantly combined when Sam whipped a terrific ball into the box for Lofty to head down to Callum and from 18 yards out volleyed it into the top corner – 2-2. Game on!
But, once again the Lions decided to play Russian roulette and gave Sidley the chance to go back in front from the penalty spot – 3-2 down, 79 minutes gone – surely no way back now? Surely Wednesday night couldn’t happen again?
Another substitute, Jan Bailey comes on, Razor goes up top and we are now playing 2-4-4 and as the chairman Les Hustwayte always used go say, attack attack attack, 84 mins gone and the Lions were awarded a penalty themselves after a handball.
With the skipper off the pitch, Smith took responsibility and smashed in the spot kick to even the scores at 3-3. But unlike Wednesday, a draw was not enough for the Lions.
Still playing 2-4-4 Hollington were pushing and pushing and with 88 minutess gone Anthony Storey picked the ball up on the left corner of the area and hit a half volley which flew into the top corner! Unbelievable, just unbelievable, 2-4-4 became 4-4-2 and with three mins left, could Hollington hold on?
With Pricey and Thomo having kittens, White played a ball in to Bailey on the half way line, the management and supporters were screaming to run it into the corner! But that wouldn’t fit the final week of the season! Instead he looked up and lobed the ‘keeper from 50 yards – 5-3 and the title stays at the Gibbons., again.
Martin and Bowles Man of the Match was Callum Smith.