Tilley brace helps Billingshurst end year on a high by overhauling Town

Nick Tilley scored Billingshursts goals against Steyning
Nick Tilley scored Billingshursts goals against Steyning

Nick Tilley struck twice to help Billingshurst end 2017 on a high with victory over local rivals Steyning Town on Saturday.

Hurst ran out 2-1 victors on the 3G pitch at The Shooting Field in a day where many of the other fixtures were off as a result of heavy rain.

It was just third-from-bottom Hurst’s fourth league win of the campaign and while it did not improve their standing in the table, they did narrow the gap on place-above Midhurst to two points.

Chris Simmons’ side have 16 points from 20 games and lead place-behind Oakwood by four points and basement boys Southwick by five.

Town meanwhile, who are winless in four, although two produced draws, ended the year in eighth position and on 30 points from their 21 games.

On Saturday, Tilley was on hand to fire home at the back post to hand Billingshurst, who had seven regulars missing, a 32nd-minute advantage - just two minutes after they felt they should have had a penalty for handball.

Hurst started the second half well and Jordan Stalibrass rounded the keeper, but saw his effort cleared off the line.

It was two on the hour courtesy of Tilley’s clever curling strike, which found the bottom corner, after a Tom Bradshaw tackle had won possession.

On 70 minutes, Stalibrass was brought down after beating the goalkeeper, but Hurst were surprised just to see only a yellow card issued.

An offside-looking Rob Clark then gave Steyning slight hope a minute from time, but Hurst held on for all three points - running out 2-1 winners.

Simmons said: “That was another good game against Steyning and we were thankful today for James Hancock who was again outstanding and drove the team forward. It was great to see Nick back amongst the goals again and it was another excellent performance from 17-year-old Jamie Bennett who is improving with every senior game.”

Town’s first game of 2018 sees them make the trip to Selsey on Saturday, while Billingshurst host Storrington.

Last Wednesday, the festive honours were shared between Steyning Town and Storrington in a 2-2 draw. Swan’s clash at home to Wick on Saturday was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.