In the world of Football there are some big fan rivalries out there.
Take the North London, Merseyside, Old Firm and ‘Dockers’ derbies and indeed Burgess Hill Town and Worthing FC where fans do not see eye to eye. However when ever Kingstonian FC and the Hillians get together the relationship between the fans is somewhere near ‘united’.
It all started in 2001 when around a dozen Kingstonian fans were visiting Burgess Hill for a pre season friendly at then Leylands Park. They got speaking with Barmy Army spiritual leader Andy Firth or Smirf in the Watermill and things just went from there. As Jeff or Syrup from Kingstonian explained.
“After chatting with Andy that day both our groups just seemed to click and we have been close friends ever since. its all about good beer and football. We are always well looked after when we come to Burgess Hill and always try to return the compliment here at Kingsmeadow.”
When asked about bragging rights he diplomatically said: “In this game it doesn’t really matter about the result it’s just nice to meet up with the boys’
After one win in ten league games Ian Chapman and his squad would have been eyeing up three points at Kingsmeadow. And reaping some revenge for a damaging three one reversal at the Green Elephants on 16th January. Owing to the hosts ground sharing with League Two outfit AFC Wimbledon the match was pushed back to Sunday afternoon (Mothers Day).
At non league level that’s quite a weird feeling watching live football at this time. Tidy ground as you can imagine the best in this division. If you haven’t been for a while there is now a really neat covered all seater stand behind the goal. The game played out on a ‘tired’ looking surface under grey but dry skies.
As to the action there wouldn’t have been anyone in the ground (a crowd of 268) to have quibbled that three points stayed in South London. While every Town player gave 110% to the cause it was the hosts who continually carved out great opportunities. In the early exchanges Kingstonian seemed to break forward with ease with Hill happy to soak up. On around 30 mins keeper Josh James made a stunning save keeping out a fierce 20 year pile driver.
As half time approached Hill legend Pat Harding got on the end of flowing move and slightly leaning back blasted his shot inches over the bar. It was the closest they came. Nil nil at half time.
It was virtually all Kingstonian in the second half. They hit the cross bar after 55 mins and thanks to more heroics from James a point blank header was palmed onto the bar. As the hosts pressed forward the dam finally burst 10 mins from time. After the 3rd phase of one particular attack the ball rolled out inviting to Tyron Smith. He hit a sweet right foot shot from 25 yards which curled neatly passed a diving James and into the back of the net. Kingsmeadow erupted ! Unfortunately there was no way back for Ian Chapman and his team.
The team from Mid Sussex were left gutted and a bit battered after giving so much effort for nothing. The Ryman Premier League is a vey tough environment and for the Hillians since Christmas its been a real struggle. As you read this they would of entertaining Bognor Regis Town last night, hopefully there would of been some positive news coming out of the Green Elephants Stadium.
The Barmy Army pass on thanks to their friends from Kingsmeadow for the hospitality in the board room and I dare say congratulations on a fine win. With Hill virtually safe its looking like the teams will again be playing two league games next season.
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