Cox Makes Debut as Hillians Beat Leatherhead
By Mark Dunford
Crawley Town loanee made his debut for Burgess Hill Town as Ian Chapman’s men beat Leatherhead 3-2 at the Green Elephants Stadium.
As promised earlier in the week by manager Ian Chapman, former Leyton Orient man Cox went straight into the starting line-up against Jimmy Bullard’s men.
Cox hadn’t played for more than a month and tweeted during the week: “6 weeks without a game Saturday can’t come soon enough @Official_BHTFC”.
And although Cox’s performance didn’t set the world alight, he had an influence and his corner set up Sam Fisk’s goal which made it 2-1.
Both sides started the day in the bottom half of the table but Burgess Hill were on a good unbeaten run.
It was Leatherhead who applied the early pressure and both Calum Davies and Evan Lopes forced corners.
Cox, who looked busy from the off, had the home side’s first effort on goal after a good break from Lee Harding, but his volley was straight at keeper William Gadman.
But Leatherhead’s early dominance paid off when a cross into the area was touched home big centre back Jerry Nnamani. It was a deserved lead.
But the Hillians slowly grew into the game and on 18 minutes Pat Harding created an opening for namesake Lee but his cross was just too high for Tyrell Richardson-Brown.
Most attacks the Hillians could muster came through Lee Harding and on 33 minutes he and Richardson-Brown linked up well but Harding’s final shot was blocked.
The crowd held it’s breath as Cox lined up a free kick on 36 minutes well within his range, but he hit it straight at the wall and the chance had gone.
Leatherhead had their best spell since the goal five minutes before the break but the home defence stood firm.
The Hillians had a bright start to the second half but were struggling to create a clear chance. Pat Harding’s tame effort on 50 minutes failed to test keeper Gadman before the same player produced a delightfully deft touch to send Lee Harding through but his final ball went high and wide.
The deserved equaliser finally came in the 58th minute from the penalty spot. It was a soft foul on Lee Harding by Ryan Mahal. Skipper Dan Pearse calmly slotted home.
Then seven minutes later it was 2-1 to the home side when Cox’s corner was brilliantly headed home by Sam Fisk.
But any thoughts it was all going Burgess Hill’s way from here were soon good when a minute later substitute Rashid Kamara broke into the Hillians box before squaring to Calum Davies who side-footed home.
It was a frantic 10 minutes and it looked like a repeat of Tuesday night’s 3-3 draw with Havant and Waterlooville was on.
After 10 minutes of calm, it was the Hillians who sprung into life with the move of the game which saw sub Jack Brivio finish superbly from the edge of the area.
Chapman’s men had failed to put games out of reach in previous games and again they had chances to finish the game off but couldn’t get the ball in the net.
And Leatherhead had chances to to get an equaliser and none better six minutes from time when Mahal found space in the box but a great defensive block saw the chance go begging.
But it was Burgess Hill’s day and they saw the game to claim three vital points and extend their unbeaten run to 10 games.