Hollington United Football Club reached its second cup semi-final of the season after winning a game which ended 10-a-side.
The Lions booked their place in the last four of the Mid Sussex Football League’s Senior Charity Cup following a 3-1 quarter-final victory at home to AFC Uckfield Town II yesterday (Saturday).
Hollington decided to rest Alan Foster, Sean Ray, Andy Corrigan, Jan Bailey and Ricky Martin, and also had Sam White, Ross Southwood and Wayne Giles unavailable, so it was a chance for the youngsters to start after impressing in previous games.
See also: * Hollington United triumph in high quality top two clash
* Hollington United reach semi-finals of county cup
* Hollington United sign higher level duo
The Lions began slowly, which was understandable with so many changes and a change of formation, but after 20 minutes they started to dictate the game.
Jay Tomlin, making his first start after returning from a spell with Eastbourne Town, beat two opposing defenders and delivered a pinpoint cross for the prolific Dominic Clarke to head Hollington in front.
It was soon 2-0. Frazer Fitchett and Tomlin combined to put Dan Kearley clear in the box, and Kearley continued his good goalscoring form by finishing low into the far corner.
Just on half time, the Uckfield number eight was shown a straight red for an off-the-ball incident which the referee was perfectly placed to see.
The game took a twist five minutes into the second half when Glenn Woodhurst was shown a red card for pulling back the Uckfield centre-forward. Hollington considered the decision very harsh, but the game was now 10 versus 10.
Uckfield were putting the Lions under quite a bit of pressure, but it was Hollington who looked more likely to score and they duly did through a tremendous Fitchett volley following a Kian Moynes corner.
The visitors nabbed a consolation in added time, but it’s the Lions who progress to an away semi-final against Lindfield.
Man of the match, sponsored by Ridge West Garage, was Finnley Page, who impressed on his debut.
Hollington manager Scott Price said: “I took a bit of a gamble today with the players I rested. We have a lot of big games coming up and certain players needed minutes as the whole squad is going to be needed if we are going to compete on all three fronts.
“It shows how strong our squad is and it has a very good balance to it. When it went to 10 v 10 it would’ve been easy to bring Razor (Ray), Jan, Ricky or Corrigan on for the young ones, but for me it’s done the youngsters the power of good to learn how to see a game out at this level of football, which they did very well.
“That’s two semi-finals and a title challenge in our first season (in the Mid Sussex League) so we have a happy club.”
Hollington are away to Peacehaven & Telscombe II in the league next Saturday.
Mid Sussex League Premier Division top four (played-points): 1 Cuckfield Rangers 15-40 (+39 goal difference), 2 HOLLINGTON UNITED 15-37 (+20), 3 Balcombe 14-33 (+37), 4 Lindfield 16-33 (+35).