Billingshurst pick up 'a great point against a top side' in eight-goal thriller

Nick Tilley (right) struck with seven minutes to go to secure a point for Billingshurst in a highly entertaining 4-4 draw with AFC Varndeanians. All pictures by Steve Robards.
Nick Tilley (right) struck with seven minutes to go to secure a point for Billingshurst in a highly entertaining 4-4 draw with AFC Varndeanians. All pictures by Steve Robards.

Richard Midadje praised Billingshurst for taking ‘a great point against a top side’ after his side played out an entertaining 4-4 home draw with AFC Varndeanians on Saturday in Division 1.

An early strike from Nick Tilley put the hosts ahead before Ollie Blackman instantly equalised.

Ben Hands (right) bagged himself a double during the 4-4 draw.

Ben Hands (right) bagged himself a double during the 4-4 draw.

Joe Keehan and Matt Waterman gave the visitors a half-time lead but a Ben Hands double brought the game back to 3-3 on 75 minutes.

George Warren put Varndeanians ahead just a minute later but Tilley’s second goal, with seven minutes remaining, saw the spoils shared.

Midadje said: “We started great but Vardeanians applied pressure and we struggled to match their experience.

“We gave the ball away in our defensive third on a couple of occasions and only had our keeper Martin Hopkins to thank for making a crucial saves.

Hurst's Jeffrey Mahadoo.

Hurst's Jeffrey Mahadoo.

“A half-time speech advising our players to admire the opposition’s experience and organisation galvanised the boys to turn in a performance of great potential.

“It was an exciting game and the team showed great effort and composure to not drop their heads. It was a great point against a top side.”

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Hurst opened the scoring on two minutes after a free-kick was knocked down for Tilley to slot home.

The visitors needed just two minutes to respond as Blackman finished from a corner.

Ben Hands battles for the ball.

Ben Hands battles for the ball.

Heavy Varndeanians pressure saw a penalty awarded after a shove in the box on 29 minutes, and Keehan duly dispatched the spot-kick.

Three minutes before the break and a good passing move ended with Waterman tucking away to make it 3-1.

Inspired by Midadje’s half-time team talk, Hurst levelled the game up after 75 minutes thanks to Hands’ double-salvo.

The visitors went ahead again just a minute later but, at the death, Tilley was on hand to tap home from six-yards out to bag a point for Midadje’s side.

Billingshurst travel to Southwick on Saturday.

Hurst: Hopkins, Court, Collier, Bowles, Sleat, Luzinda, Beck, Mahadoo, Hands, Tilley, Chadwick. Subs: Kaboggoza, Scarff-Cody.