Our local Ryman Premier League team, Burgess Hill Town FC are really starting to make huge strides in a very tough environment.
After a stunning pre Christmas two one away win at Staines the lads were at in again on New Years Eve. However unlike Staines where flashes of star quality stole the day it was all about team spirit at Merstham. The lads dug deep to forge a spectacular late point after being 2-0 down!
The Hillians have enjoyed some memorable matches at the Moatside so given the easy 25 mile trip up the A23 it wasn't surprising that around 30 fans had made the trip.
There were fears that the game might of been fog affected but moving towards 3pm that had all lifted. Indeed with the sun making a very welcome appearance it was the perfect afternoon for football. Both teams were up for it leading to a very frantic opening half hour. There were half chances galore at both ends which made it very exciting to watch. The hosts eventually did get on top playing some very controlled football. It was very pleasing to see that Hill managed to see out the danger until half time.
Merstham have quality players and were happy to ping the ball around mid field and then get down the channels. Both wingers able to send in accurate and dangerous crosses. However it was visitors who created the best chance of the game on the hour mark. After great work down the left a beautiful cross came in which screamed 'bury me'. It fell neatly on the head of big number nine Jonah Ayunga unmarked six yards out. He just needed to show some bravery and nod it home.
Unfortunately the ball skimmed off his head and out for a goal kick. Not for the 1st time this season our Brighton and Hove FC academy player has failed to deliver. That miss was punished one min later when after a huge cross angled ball and neat cross Dan Bennett showed exactly what is required powerfully heading home. There was total dejection in the Hill dug out when just five mins later Merstham doubled the lead.
But Chapman is not one to give up, he hooked the lacklustre Ayunga and the injured Brivia for Sam Fisk and Billy Medlock. Things changed dramatically and it was all Hill for the last 15 mins. Away fans might of just beginning to give up when the 4 extra mins went up. However what happened next will go down in club folklore.
Man of the Match James Richmond got his head to a corner on 92 mins to half the deficit. Then all hell broke loose as Hillian new boy Medlock, with the last kick of the game, somehow chested down a high ball and in one movement swivelled and volleyed the ball from 18 yards off the bar and into the goal. Que unrivalled and wild celebrations in front of the travelling fans. Even keeper Josh James raced 70 yards to join in as did physio Kev Mottley who raced from the dug out. As a fan you live for these moments !
It might of only been an away point but to BHTFC this was huge. Its just another indicator that the club are really starting to feel at home in Ryman Premier League company. The club go to Folkstone Invictor on 2nd January for another tough test. That target of 52 points and safety is edging closer. Its going to be a very fascinating 2nd half of the season around the old Green Elephants Stadium. Come and get involved.
Next home game January 7, 3pm Leiston FC.