Burgess Hill Town were looking to continue the year as they had started after their 3-0 win over Three Brides on New Year’s Day.
Burgess Hill Town looked strong in the very early stages of the match where Spencer Slaughter and Callum Saunders both saw shots go wide of goal.
On 14 minutes, Hastings’ number 6 Richard Rose was booked for hand ball and the subsequent free kick was taken by Callum Saunders. This goal bound cross was headed out of play by Hastings’ Tom Vickers. Dan Perry had started quickly and was constantly looking to create chances. 25 minutes in he had his first real chance when Graham Martin punted the ball up field perfectly for Dan Perry to control and advance towards goal. Just as Perry began to shoot Hastings goalkeeper Josh Pelling retrieved the ball and brought Dan Perry to the floor. The referee signalled play on and Pelling knocked the ball up field.
Determined to take the lead, Neil Watts made a great run down the wing defeating two of the opposition to put a cross in to Dan Perry who was waiting in the box. Dan could not compete with the height of the Hastings defence who headed the ball out of play. Hastings’ best chance of the half came on 33 minutes when a corner resulted in a powerful shot that went soaring just over the cross bar. Burgess Hill Town found the back of the net on 41 minutes when Neil Watts put a low hard cross in the box where Lee Harding was waiting to slot the ball past the goalkeeper. On the brink of half time Josh James required medical attention after a save to prevent a goal from a corner. Luckily for Burgess Hill he was able to complete the half and keep the score at 1-0.
Burgess Hill Town received a corner early in the second half which was taken by Lee Harding who knocked the ball to the far post. Neil Watts was waiting to head the ball home but his attempt went wide of the post. Dan Perry then went on to have chances but all of his efforts were denied. On the counter attack from one of Perry’s chances Hill’s defence were unable to stop the attack and a powerful shot was fired towards Josh James who saved the shot with his chest and went down injured.
After a being treated for a few minutes James was deemed fit enough to continue. Ian Chapman made his first substitution of the afternoon on 68 minutes when Pat Harding replaced Callum Saunders. After being on the field just two minutes, Pat was able to take a shot but his effort also flew wide of the goal.
Hastings managed to level the score on 73 minutes when an Ade Olorunda shot found the top left corner, well out of reach of Josh James in the Burgess Hill goal. The following minute saw Spencer Slaughter being replaced by Darren Budd. Hastings number 6 Richard Rose then received his second yellow card of the match after he brought Dan Perry to the floor. The resulting free kick was taken by Darren Budd whose looping cross towards goal was an easy save for the goalkeeper.
Graham Martin very nearly gave Burgess Hill the lead again when his 77th minute shot went just wide of the post. Dan Pearse got his first goal for Burgess Hill Town on 85 minutes after his shot found the underside of the cross bar and flew over the goal line leaving Hastings keeper Josh Pelling stunned. Rob O’Toole then replaced Lee Harding and helped the side see out the 4 minutes of added time to secure 3 points that bump Burgess Hill Town back up to top of the table.
Man of the match was awarded to Neil Watts for his consistent hard work in the Burgess Hill Town defence.
Burgess Hill Town: Josh James, Neil Watts, Sam Fisk, Dan Pearse, Toby Pointing, Will Miles, Spencer Slaughter (Darren Budd 74), Graham Martin, Dan Perry, Lee Harding (Rob O’Toole 86), Callum Saunders (Pat Harding 68)
Unused Subs: Andy Pearson, Stuart Tuck