At 3.45pm last Saturday afternoon Ian Chapman and his battle weary troops looked to be on the verge of Ryman Premier League safety.
Luc Doherty, club legend Pat Harding and youngster Curtis Gayler each joyously scored in a fantastic first half at Canvey Island Essex.
It was smiles all around as they lest the park for half time. In perhaps a mirror image of the 2015/16 season thus far the Hillians again failed to capitalise on the bright start.
The club’s Ryman Premier League debut season got under way on a beautiful afternoon (12th August 2015) at Needham Market. A much deserved two one victory was followed up by a home win against VCD Athletic. 6 points in four days led the way to a stunning opening salvo which saw the Green Elephants outfit eyeing up a possible play off spot after beating Merstham on Boxing day.
But and it’s a huge but the team hit the buffers in 2016, Ian enjoying one solitary league win in 19 starts. Its a run that, understandably, seen a slow but painful slid down the table and loss of confidence and swagger amongst the players and coaching staff. Hardened Hillian fans have haven’t escaped the taste of disappointment and frustration along the way.
Yours truly has been pointing towards safety for some while now. My voice, it said going against the majority. However after Saturdays capitulation and ‘fables’ coming out of the Farnborough FC camp I have to admit that the league table has taken on a more sinister look. There has always been a caveat that Farnborough Fc would go down due to ‘financial issues’ but that source of comfort seems to have been taken away. Its every man for himself as we enter the last week of the season.
Just touching back to Saturday it was a brilliant day on the road with the Barmy Army. We travelled by train up to London and then into Essex on the Coast to Capital line stopping at Benfleet.
The Island is then accessed by road across a small tidal river. Our cabbie said there were 50,000 people living there most of them on the commute in the morning leading to some horrendous traffic issues. However property prices are much less than most of Essex which must be attractive to some. Plus there are beaches to enjoy!
The ground itself can best be described as ‘robust’ featuring the biggest concrete terrace in the league. I would just like to thank my fellow Hillian fans for putting up with me for another season of travelling adventures. Generally its been a positive and rewarding experience.
As you read this on Thursday morning the Hillians would of been in home action last night V Hendon FC. Hopefully positive news is filtering out from the Green Elephants of a season defining win and safety. If not its going to be squeaky bottom time come 3pm this Saturday as the club host Tonbridge Angels (3pm start). Lets all prey that come 5pm BHTFC have retained their coveted Ryman Premier League status !
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