Sunday, 15 April 2012

Hollington United OFF Old Town Athletic

Hollington United OFF Old Town Athletic
Old Town Athletic unable to raise a team
Saturday 14th April 2012
East Sussex League Premier Division
Gibbons Memorial Field

Today I chose to head to the outskirts of Hastings to see the all conquering Hollington United in their penultimate game of the season, at a rare ground in the East Sussex League which has some facilities.

The Gibbons Memorial Field is about a twenty minute bus ride away from Hastings rail station, and as one enters the ground behind one of the goals, there is a clubhouse clearly built to repel vandalism and intrusion first and foremost, with no windows and with reinforced metal doors and a patio between the clubhouse and the pitch. The pitch is fully railed off all around, with a gate. No hard standing is available anywhere apart from the patio area. There is quite an enclosed feel to the ground, with trees lining one touchline and one of the goals, a bank and then housing behind the other touchline, with the clubhouse and a bowling green behind the other goal.

Going into this game, Hollington United had the quite remarkable record of winning all eighteen of their league games so far, with just two games left of the season, both at home, with their last game coming against Punnetts Town, the whipping boys of the division, winning just one and drawing one of their 19 games, with a goal difference of minus 81. Old Town Athletic were in sixth place in the eleven team league, losing 2-6 at home to Wadhurst United last time out and were unable to raise a team in their previous away fixture.

Unfortunately that was to prove the case again today, as they were not able to raise a team to travel to Hollington. However, a game of sorts took place, with a friendly game between Hollington United's first and second teams. By the time I arrived midway through the first half, the score was 1-1, which it remained until the interval. Mild embarrassment for the all conquering Hollington United first team appeared to be on the cards, as the second team took a 2-1 lead, and then 4-2. It is true that the second string of Hollington are no mugs, as they lay in second place in Division One of the East Sussex League, but eventually the extra quality of the first team prevailed, as they went on to win 6-4 in the end. Obviously it was a very light-hearted affiar, summed up at the final whistle when the "referee" shouted out "right, that's that, let's go and get pissed", but it was actually a reasonably entertaining spectacle, and certainly better than nothing, which it could have been.

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