The U’s crowned champions in utterly nail-biting fashion

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The U’s secured a first season promotion in dramatic circumstances, recovering from being 0-2 and 1-3 down to win 4-3 to secure the title with one game to spare. Goals from Rosie Muggeridge (her first for the U’s), 2 Molly Hill penalties and an absolute pearler from Georgia Tibble secured the win.

The start was a scrappy one, with neither side able to put together a string of passes. Because of this the opening goal came after a quarter of an hour. The defence didn’t cover themselves in glory as a speculative cross fell kindly for the Montpellier forward, who, despite her height disadvantage, took the ball down well and curled into the far corner from close range. An early opener to change the dynamic of the match.

And, things returned to their previous ding dong battle status. The U’s main threat was coming from Georgia Tibble, who was bamboozling the Montpellier defence frequently with her unreal footwork. She was rotating with Faye Williams in order to try and keep Villa on their toes, but it would unfortunately be Villa who would strike the next blow.

An excellent Rosie Muggeridge tackle was deemed not so excellent by the referee – Taking the ball apparently a violation – but there was nothing wrong with the resulting free kick, which, in all fairness, was an absolute corker, curled over the wall and into the top corner. With a few minutes left until half time, Villa had doubled their lead.

But the U’s would halve it again in stoppage time. A short corner routine ended up with Georgia Tibble having a curling effort which was parried away by the goalkeeper, but the rebound was exquisitely tucked into the corner by Rosie Muggeridge. A fine first goal in claret that changed the half time team talks of both coaches.

HT : Hastings Utd 12 Montpellier Villa

The U’s immediately came out all guns blazing. Speaking to head coach Andy Corrigan after the match, he said his key instruction to Georgia Tibble was to shoot. And after half a minute she weaved some space in the middle of the park and released a firecracker of an effort, which left the crossbar shaking for several minutes afterwards. A start that set out exactly what the U’s needed to do.

But, the challenge would take another turn for the worst after 58 minutes. A lack of communication at the back led to Blair Hamilton smashing a clearance off of Lauren Sharp which agonisingly trickled into the back of the net. The commentators were speechless, and, as many of the players agreed afterwards, it just began to feel like it wasn’t the U’s day. It was 1-3 with just over half an hour to go.

But we’re Hastings. That’s not the end of the story.

As the game went on, and the U’s piled on the pressure. Montpellier were clearly starting to buckle under the pressure, and their first in box infringement was in the 81st minute, committing a clear handball. Molly Hill stepped up…And she made no mistake, sending the goalkeeper the wrong way. Back to 2-3.

And, that, my dear friends, was the start of something magic. The pressure resumed, and 4 minutes later a cynical challenge gave the U’s another chance from the spot. And, just like a few minutes prior, Hill stepped up, and put into the other corner to make it level.

The hard work. The effort. The blood, sweat and tears. 

All culminating in one genius moment – Step forward Georgia Tibble. After picking it up in midfield and getting it out of her feet, she released a thunderbolt into the top corner. Cue Pandemonium. Cue subs and staff on the pitch. Cue screams on the commentary. Cue the calls for the ref to blow the whistle for full time.

Cue the Title celebrations. 

The U’s had done it.

FT : Hastings Utd 43 Montpellier Villa

The Ry-View : 



Line Up – Hamilton, Sharp (Buckley), Muggeridge, Reed, Corrigan (Sanderson), Carter, Relf ©, Payne, Tibble (★), Williams (Hannath), Hill.

Next Fixture – Roffey (A), 16/05/2021

Ryan Segal.