Hollington United’s top-of-the-table clash ends all-square

Allan McMinigal was Hollington United's man of the match in the 0-0 draw away to Balcombe
Allan McMinigal was Hollington United's man of the match in the 0-0 draw away to Balcombe

Hollington United Football Club’s 12-match winning run ended with a draw in a top-of-the-table clash.

The Lions fought out a 0-0 draw away to Mid-Sussex League Premier Division leaders Balcombe yesterday (Saturday).

Hollington travelled to Balcombe knowing anything other than a defeat would still keep the destination of the league title in their own hands. But with Dominic Clarke and Andy Corrigan joining the ever-growing injury list, the Lions really had to dig deep in this one.

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The hosts started the brighter, but very rarely threatened the Hollington goal and it took the visitors their customary 15 minutes to finally get going.

Jan Bailey hit a superb volley from 25 yards which was excellently saved by the home goalkeeper, but other than that both teams cancelled each other out.

The second half was very similar, although the Lions started a bit brighter and dominated possession. Jay Tomlin did brilliantly to beat four players, but was unlucky not to find the final ball.

Apart from some dangerous throw-ins into the Lions’ box, Balcombe didn’t really cause the Hollington back four any real problems in open play.

With neither side really willing to gamble in a bid to win the game, it finished in a fair 0-0 draw. Man of the match, sponsored by Coleman’s Plant Hire, was Allan McMinigal.

Hollington manager Scott Price said: “I knew our winning run would have to come to an end at some point, but I’m more than happy with a point today.

“To come here against a side that beat us at home, is top of the league having scored 88 goals in 22 league games, and keep a clean sheet is fantastic.

“You can see why they’re averaging four goals a game. The forward Will Howes could play Bostik League easily, Jamie Weston was part of Haywards Heath’s (Southern Combination) league-winning side last year and the centre-midfield player is as good as I’ve seen all season.

“So to come here and limit them to probably one, maybe two half chances is credit to the team.

If I’m honest, I thought we could have kept the ball a lot better in the final third and our final ball has been better this season.

“I’d like to know what they drink in this part of Sussex as every team has someone who throws the ball a country mile!

“We missed Dommy’s presence and experience today, but that’s taking nothing away from the front three, who put a proper shift in offensively and defensively with a combined age of only 50.”

Mid Sussex League Premier Division top four (played-points): 1 Balcombe 22-53 (+57 goal difference), 2 Cuckfield Rangers 20-52 (+53), 3 HOLLINGTON UNITED 20-50 (+33), 4 Lindfield 20-42 (+41).