Late Drama in New Years Eve Cracker
By David Marriott
Burgess Hill Town rescued a point away to Merstham to end 2016 on a positive note. Two goals in stoppage time from James Richmond and Billy Medlock brought the Hillians back from the brink after Merstham had taken a 2-0 lead.
The Hillians nearly went behind in the first minute, but Josh James was on hand to turn a Merstham shot over the bar.
This early chance kickstarted the Hillians into life with Leon Redwood and Jonah Ayunga both testing the Merstham goalkeeper, with the latter being unlucky to be ruled offside.
Dan Hector and Bennett were a menace for the Hillians defence all afternoon with Josh James producing a good double save to deny Hector.
The two teams went into half-time goalless with both managers encouraging their teams to be more adventurous in the second half.
Just after the hour mark, Dan Bennett headed home from a free-kick passed Josh James to put Merstham into the lead. Merstham doubled their lead thanks to Dan Hector who produced a good finish after a cross from the right-hand side.
Hector had the opportunity to put the game out of sight but saw his shot cannon back off of the post.
Thanks to some encouragement from manager Ian Chapman, the Hillians rallied and took the game to Merstham in the final 20 minutes. Sam Fisk was brought on after 75 minutes following a long spell out through injury.
As the clock ticked passed 90 minutes, many would have been forgiven for thinking the game would end 2-0. In the 92nd minute, a header from James Richmond put the Hillians back into the game. As the travelling fans willed them on, Josh James launched a long ball down the pitch. Merstham could not clear the ball and Billy Medlock chested it down and volleyed the ball into the net over the keeper to level the scores.
It was to be the last kick of the game and showed a new-found determination amongst the Hillians players to end 2016 on a high.
Next up, we are away to Folkestone Invicta on Monday, January 2nd, kick-off 3 pm.