Rob O’Toole hits brace as Burgess Hill enjoy 4-1 win over Sussex rivals

Rob O'Toole, Burgess Hill Town. Picture by Steve Robards SUS-140818-114529001
Rob O'Toole, Burgess Hill Town. Picture by Steve Robards SUS-140818-114529001

The Hillians entertained Hastings United in their third home tie of the season and picked up maximum points with a 4-1 win over their Sussex rivals.

After using the same starting XI in the opening four games of the season, Manager Ian Chapman was forced into a change after Joe Keehan was injured in the midweek draw at Horsham and summer signing Sam Gore came in for his first start. Chris Breach was also named on the bench and came on after missing the beginning of the season with injury.

Hill’s first chance fell to Pat Harding who saw his effort blocked by keeper Josh Pelling. Both teams had lots of possession without creating too many chances until the 19th minute when Sam Fisk’s long throw fell to Gore whose powerful shot was headed over the bar by Sean Ray.

A minute later O’Toole put in a low cross where Sean Ray’s block narrowly missed his own goal giving Hill a corner from which Will Miles’ flick fell kindly into Pelling’s arms.

Hastings’ first real chance fell on 25 minutes when Jordan Johnson’s free kick flashed across the goal but was unable to find a Hastings player and went out for a goal kick.

On 31 minutes Greg Luer was found down the right by Neil Watts and Luer’s first time volley went just over from a tight angle. Hill then had a flurry of chances before half time with Scott Kirkwood and Andy Pearson having half chances. The last chance of the first half fell to Sean Ray whose header was cleared off the line by Watts.

Burgess Hill had the perfect start to the second half when just two minutes in O’Toole’s header was tipped over the bar by Pelling and then one minute later, from a Hastings corner, Scott Kirkwood found Luer on the right wing whose cross found Watts who put the ball into O’Toole’s path inside the box leaving him the perfect opportunity for him to pass the ball into the back of the net to give Hill he lead.

Almost directly from Hastings’ kick off Hill gained possession once again and Luer cut in from the left and curled the ball brilliantly into the far corner to make it 2-0.

It only took Hastings 4 minutes to pull a goal back when former Hillian Olalekan Bankole found Sam Adams on the edge of the box and his first time effort curled past the diving Josh James. Sam Adams nearly made it two for Hastings when his free kick was goal bound and Josh James pulled off a good save at the near post.

On 60 minutes Greg Luer limped off and the exciting Dan Perry came on and within 5 minutes found himself getting alongside Jahmahl King and just as he was going to shoot King made a last ditch tackle denying Perry a goal.

The goal of the game came on 73 minutes when O’Toole got his second goal when he picked up the ball just inside the Hastings half, spotted that Pelling was off his line hit a wonder strike that found Pelling picking the ball out of the back of the net.

Hill carried on dominating the second half and chances fell to Perry and Harding until on 83 minutes Harding made it 4-1 when O’Toole found him just inside the six yard box. He gave Pelling no chance by smashing the ball into the back of the net.

Once again the last chance of the half fell to Hastings when Josh James beat out Frankie Sawyer’s header, but in the end it was comfortable for the home side as the Hill moved up to second.

Hillians: Josh James, Neil Watts, Sam Fisk, Andy Pearson, Will Miles, Rob O’Toole, Darren Budd, Sam Gore (Chris Breach 81), Scott Kirkwood, Greg Luer (Dann Perry 60), Pat Harding (Lee Harding 84)

Not used: Toby Pointing, Dan Smith