Burgess Hill Town resumed their league campaign with an impressive 5-1 victory over Merstham in the Ryman Premier on Saturday.
Striker Sam Gargan bagged four goals with team mate and Captain Joe Keehan also scoring from the penalty spot to give Hill their third league victory in a row.
The two sides were both promoted together from the Isthmian League Division One South last year with the Hillians winning this season’s reverse fixture 2-1 thanks to goals from Scott Kirkwood and Pat Harding.
Ian Chapman named an unchanged line-up from the 3-2 victory over Canvey Island as he was obviously impressed with what he saw last week.
Burgess Hill immediately pressed the Merstham defence with Pat Harding winning a corner after three minutes having pressurised the opposition defender. Dan Pearse delivered the ball and Sam Gargan headed the ball home into the top left corner for his first goal of the afternoon.
Despite a rocky start Merstham found an equaliser thanks to a run from the left from Aaron Rhule which was slotted into the net by Charlie Penny.
The Hillians did not let this knock their confidence as Sam Gargan put Chris Smith through on goal but he dragged his shot just wide. Seconds later Pat Harding nutmegged Antone Douglas with Sam Gargan coming close to goal again.
Burgess Hill showed that they are a threat from set pieces when another Dan Pearse corner was delivered into the box. Joe Keehan attempted a shot on goal but it was accidently blocked by the chest of Pat Harding- this did not stop Sam Gargan from volleying the ball into the roof of the net to put the Hillians back into the lead once again.
This goal gave Hill a renewed sense of confidence. Minutes before half time Lee Harding was brought down in the box to win Burgess Hill a penalty. Captain Joe Keehan stepped up and fired the ball into the top right corner- his third goal in two matches.
The second half began slowly and it wasn’t until just after the hour mark where a long free kick was floated into the edge of the Merstham box and was nodded into the air for Sam Gargan to head the ball over the keeper to complete his hat trick for afternoon and in turn earning himself the match ball.
Despite this Sam Gargan and the Hillians were hungry for more goals as his free kick was just over the bar.
Five minutes later a one two interchange between Lee Harding and Sam Gargan left the latter to slot the ball home into the bottom left corner for his fourth and final goal of the afternoon to the cheers of the Burgess Hill faithful.
There is no doubt that this is an early Christmas present for Ian Chapman and the fans with this result pushing the Hillians into 9th place in the league- with only four points separating them from a spot in the play-offs.
It’s safe to say this will leave the club free to celebrate the Christmas period in style. The team return to action on Boxing Day away to Farnborough- who sit in a perilous 22nd place.
Hillians: Josh James, Will Miles, Sam Fisk, Dan Pearse, Andy Pearson, Toby Pointing, Pat Harding, Joe Keehan, Sam Gargan (Elliot Levy 85), Chris Smith (Darren Budd 71), Lee Harding (Guy Bolton 90)
Not used: Ollie Rowland, Scott Kirkwood
MOTM: Sam Gargan for producing one of the best individual performances this season
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