Eastbourne Rangers put four past Hollington United

Hollington United kicked off their Mid Sussex League campaign with defeat away to Eastbourne Rangers on a sweltering Sports Park 3G.

A new MSFL season is under way
A new MSFL season is under way

The Lions started brightly enough but with both sides trying to play out from the back there was always a chance that a lapse in concentration would see the the deadlock broken. This was the case sooner rather than later as a loose touch from Luke Caister in the Hollington goal saw the home forward steal it off his toes before being brought down.

The resulting spot kick was scuffed into the bottom right corner with Caister agonisingly close to redeeming himself. Shortly after a not too dissimilar scenario was to play out with the referee this time waving away the fervent penalty appeals.

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Dale Penn missed a glorious chance to equalise, ballooning his free header over the the bar from six yards after a delicious ball in from manager Asher Grindle down the left hand side. Rangers made it 2-0 towards the back end of the first half as a swerving 25 yard effort was parried away by Caister and some statuesque defending allowed the home forward to steal a march on Penn and gleefully smash home the rebound.

Rangers were eventually awarded a second penalty of the afternoon midway through the second half after more questionable decision making and overplaying from the Hollington defence, Penn was this time the guilty party giving away the spot kick. It was a case of same corner, same outcome from the resulting penalty. Hollington briefly rallied as club captain Ricky Martin pulled one back with a scruffy finish; however all momentum was soon lost when Jordan Harley was sin binned for dissent.

Despite the numerical disadvantage the Lions blew a huge chance to peg their opponents back further when substitute Baxter Orchard elected for an extravagant finish with the keeper out of position and Grindle well placed to tap into an open goal. Rangers duly broke forward from the resulting attack an sealed their win with an excellent counter attack goal thumped home at the far post. Despite Caister being largely untroubled in the Hollington goal there could be few complaints about the end result and the stand out performances from the afternoon were those of the Eastbourne Players.

Manager Asher Grindle said: “After a strong and encouraging pre season I was hugely disappointed by the manner of the defeat and our overall performance level. We failed to execute almost everything that we’ve worked on during the last 6 weeks or so. Granted we were missing 12 players for various different reasons but there’s absolutely no excuse and on paper we still looked to be fielding a strong side.

"Unfortunately the lads that stepped in today looked way off of the pace and after picking up 3 injuries in the first half including a nasty looking knee ligament injury to Lewis Finch, I really am struggling to take an discernible positives away from the game. Rome wasn’t built in a day and with players returning I’m confident we will be vastly improved moving forward and I know the lads much like myself are hungry to put things right at home next week where we hope to attract a decent crowd."