After weeks, no months of being glued to the bottom of the Bostik Premier league it wasn’t surprising that an army of Hillians fans let their hair down at Hartsdown.
Our local seventh tier club, operating out of the Green Elephants Stadium might, at last be finding their way at this level.
A trip to the Kent coast to take on the mite of Margate FC is and will always be a real high light in the schedule.
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First of all, it’s an exciting town to visit with a rich British sea side holiday tradition. Second, it’s football club perhaps are the blue-ribbon team in the Bostick Premier League. The Hartsdown club always attract big home support and over the years have dazzled and disappointed in equal measures.
About 15 years ago I visited the club during a real nightmare period of their history.
The pitch was literally a cabbage patch, the club house and dug outs in a derelict state of decay. The team were ground sharing at Ramsgate. Since those dark days the ground has had an expensive make over complete with a state of the art 3G surface. They are on the up and Margate are the kind of club that you would expect to go bang bang and into National Conference.
I travelled down on Friday evening by train via Hastings and Ashford. A path well-trodden as my mum lives in Cliftonville. After some tea and a nice chat, we retired for a good night sleep ready of the big day. For the 2nd season running our trip to Kent was blessed with excellent weather. Blue skies, bright sun shine with a cool breeze accompanied my mile walk to the stadium.
Once inside it was very pleasing to see that around 30 of us had made the trip. Not that we had much to cheer in the initial scrimmages. Josh might of done better with an early free kick and then there was a bazaar goal which came from a long throw in on the wind. The ball just kept going, bounced on the penalty spot and then went over the keeper. I am saying it again James did get the faintest of touches on the ball so correct decision by the officials.
However, under Simon and John our team are made of sterner stuff these days. There was no dropping of heads but a collective rolling up of sleeves. Club legend Pat Harding showed all his experience as a world class goal poacher late in the half. After a Charman header came off the post who was right on the spot? Super Pat - 2-1 at half time.
During the second half, buoyed on by a driven and enthusiastic support Hillians played their best football of the season as the Gate crumbled. Tom Cadman had us all madly celebrating with a very special free kick.
Then to complete a memorable day Andre McCollin found a yard of space in the box to volley home after a corner. CUE WILD HYSTERIA!
We might of caught our hosts on a bad day at the office but a three two victory at Hartsdown Park represents the best away victory during our three and half seasons at this level. It’s a message to the league to say that we are not afraid of anyone and we have some big scores to settle over the coming months. With Simon and John in charge and with the increased support the Hillians will become a potent force. Watch out Bostik.