Champions! Hollington get point they need for title

Hollington needed a point to be crowned champions of the Mid Sussex League premier division when they faced Willingdon – and they got it.

Wednesday, 5th May 2021, 5:15 pm
Hollington Utd - champions! Picture: Joe Knight

Facing sixth-placed Willingdon at home, the game got off to a slow start and the Lions were let off the hook after Willingdon had a goal disallowed.

Although the Lions only needed a point, they went all out to try to get the three points, however they couldn’t break down Willingdon’s defence.

The urgency stepped up in the second half, with both teams looking to grab a goal.

Hollington were becoming desperate and their work paid off in the 73rd minute.

The Lions were awarded a free kick just outside the box, it was taken quickly and the ball fell to Jamie Crone who flicked it into Lewis Mcguigan, and the centre back tapped it into the back of the net.

The home side’s job was now just to see the game out.

Willingdon equalised in the last minute of the game, when a long throw in came into the box and was headed home. But the full time whistle blew just as Hollington kicked off to confirm the Lions end the season above Balcombe and with the league title.

Manager Scott Price was naturally delighted. He told us: "It’s not easy going into a game knowing a point is enough to win the league. Although we’ve kept four clean sheets our intention was always to win the game. We certainly were the better team and I thought a draw flattered them to be honest.

"We looked a bit nervous and didn’t really get into our stride at all but we did enough. Fair play to them and Balcombe can be sure that they played their part in trying to stop us winning the title.

"We have dealt with a million problems (in winning the title). We lost Ells (goalkeeper) for three months with a fractured skull, we lost Razor, arguably the best player in the league, we lost Danny Andrews (our skipper) and we lost a few of the younger players who went on to senior football.

"We then lost at home to Balcombe and Sidley which left us playing catch-up before the first lockdown came in. We regrouped, signed a couple of players and came back firing on all cylinders and won the next three games which put us four points behind.

"I had no doubt at the time of the second lockdown that we’d go on and win the league. I had no doubt we’d win this league when it restarted. We showed the difference between a group of players who want to play for each other and a team who just wanted a few quid. That’s what got us over the line.

"We are now the holders of the Sussex Cup and Mid Sussex League. Now that is something the club should be proud of.

"I’d like to thank all of our sponsors, our supporters, our committee, the players but most of all I’d like to thank the management staff, Ross, Jules, and Tomo - without them this team does not achieve this."