Burgess Hill Town had all players that were struck down with a bug for Wednesday’s fixture away to Worthing back for this league fixture away at Tooting and Mitcham.
Hill started strongly and applied pressure from the start and kept the ball well but just couldn’t create a real chance so it was Tooting that had the first chance of the half when Dan Summers headed over from a corner on ten minutes.
Burgess Hill’s first chance came after twelve minutes when Neil Watts put in a dangerous free kick that fell to Sam Fisk but his shot was blocked and then Joe Keehan saw the same result as he fired in a low drive towards goal. Neil Watts created his own chance on sixteen minutes when he picked up the ball just outside the box but his well struck shot just cleared the cross bar this was followed by Hill taking the lead when Sam Fisk put in a long throw that Keehan flicked on and Darren Budd made no mistake when he smashed the ball into the top corner.
Joe Keehan came close to adding to Hill’s lead on twenty two minutes when he found space inside the box but his shot was deflected for a corner, Dan Pearse was very unlucky not to add to the score when he hit a thunderbolt of a shot from thirty yards out only to see it hit the bar and bounce off the line and then be cleared by the home defence.
However Tooting and Mitcham’s Dan Summers didn’t have such bad luck when in first half injury time he found space from a similar distance but his effort found the top corner giving Matt Morrish no chance in the Hill goal.
The second half saw Tooting and Mitcham start the livelier of the two sides and Bashru Alimi went close just after the start but his effort went just over, Ian Chapman made a change when Lee Harding was replaced on fifty four minutes by Dan Perry who went on up front and Pat Harding moved back into midfield, Joe Keehan found space from a Darren Budd free kick but his header went just wide.
This was quickly followed by Dan Perry beating the home right back and putting in a good cross that Budd put just wide of the near post. Hill were given a big blow on Sixty three minutes when Dan Pearse was given a straight red card for what appeared to be a head butt after he reacted to a late tackle. Chapman re-organised Burgess Hill but Tooting started to take advantage of the extra man and on sixty six minutes Stefan Cox put cut in from the right and shot just wide and soon after Nathan Gordon put in a dangerous cross but Dan Summers put the ball over from six yards.
Dan Perry went close on seventy minutes after Neil Watts crossed from the right but his near post flick only found the side netting. Hill were defending well and chances were limited however on Seventy five minutes Pat Harding found space in midfield and his pass found Rob O’Toole just inside the box and he calmly slotted the ball past Luke Badali to give Hill a valuable lead.
Another change was made by Hill when Darren Budd was replaced by Spencer Slaughter.
The home side pushed hard for an equaliser and chances fell to substitutes Frankie Sawyer and Sol Pinnock but Hill defended both efforts well and Toby Pointing blocked what appeared to be a certain goal in the first minute of injury time. Neil Watts was injured in a last ditch tackle on ninety three minutes and was replaced by Will Miles, the referee played a total of seven minutes injury time that had the large amount of travelling fans biting their nails but Hill managed to see this out and earned a very valuable three points considering they played half an hour with only ten men.
Burgess Hill Town: Matt Morrish, Neil Watts (Will Miles 93), Sam Fisk, Darren Budd (Spencer Slaughter 75), Andy Pearson, Toby Pointing, Dan Pearse, Joe Keehan, Pat Harding, Lee Harding (Dan Perry 54), Rob O’Toole
Unused Subs: Scott Kirkwood, Lukas Frentzen-Jones