Hollington United Football Club kicked-off its new era in the Mid Sussex League Premier Division with a victory over the runners-up for the last two seasons.
A first half goal from Luke Woodley was enough to earn a 1-0 win at home to Willingdon Athletic on Saturday.
With another decent crowd coming to support their local side, it was down to the players to step up another level from their undefeated East Sussex League Premier Division title-winning record of last term.
The new league came with a new rule in the form of the ‘sin bin’ system, where any player guilty of dissent towards the officials will be dismissed from the field for 10 minutes.
See also: * New era at Hollington set to begin
* Double winners Hollington on the move
* Hollington boss praises players after dramatic title triumph
It took the Lions a little while to get going, with Willingdon seemingly settling down the quicker of the two sides. The visitors thought they had scored, but were thwarted by the linesman’s flag.
This seemed to kick Hollington into life and they started to take control, with Woodley and Sam White causing all sorts of problems.
Hollington also had a goal chalked off when Andrews scored after a White free kick was parried by the goalkeeper, but the linesman’s flag was raised.
It wasn’t long before Hollington did take the lead. Frazer Fitchett put in a terrific deep cross to the back post for Woodley to head home.
Now completely on top, the Lions really should have gone in at half time with the game wrapped up as Dom Clarke, White and Woodley all went close.
Hollington again had the chances to wrap the game up in the second period. Alan Foster hit the post and Woodley nearly scored an identical goal to his first but this time fired just wide.
Willingdon then turned the screw a bit and put a lot of dangerous balls in the box, but Hollington’s back four were organised and consistent all game in dealing with everything thrown at them.
The introduction of 16-year-old Jay Tomlin completely turned the game back around again. His pace and power were too much for Willingdon’s back line and the visitors picked up two bookings for bringing him down.
The Lions held on for their first victory of the season, with Andrews man of the match for a masterclass in central midfield.
Hollington: Stokes, Fitchett, Southwood, Corrigan, Ray, Andrews, White (Kearley), Bailey (Payne), Clarke, Foster, Woodley (Tomlin).
Hollington have two matches over the Bank Holiday weekend, both kicking-off at 2pm. A home game against reigning champions Lindfield on Saturday will be followed by a trip to Burgess Hill Albion on Monday.
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