First Team
Isthmian League South East Division Tue 25 January TEC Stadium
Burgess Hill Town
  • Box (30')

What’s more uncommon than a Tuesday night away win and a Martyn Box goal? A Tuesday night away win, won by a Martyn Box goal. That’s what those hardy travelling Hillians enjoyed as the men donning their vibrant yellow Battenberg away kit continued the unbeaten start to 2022.

It was almost a dream like start for those men in yellow with the bar being rattled after only 7 minutes. A corner was floated in towards the box and the home keeper Harry Brooks made a right hash of his claim; he dropped the ball under pressure and it fell to the feet of Reggie Ward. With his back to goal, he twisted and turned and fired a thumping effort from 12 yards which had everyone beaten except the poor crossbar which was left physically shaking. The Hillians had a debutant in net in the form of ex-Leeds United goalkeeper Will Huffer, his first bit of action came after 10 minutes. A Brickie looked to catch him off his line with a very audacious lob attempt but thankfully for the Hillians it landed the wrong side of the post. Down the other end, Tom Chalaye fresh from his double at the weekend looked to add to his tally, he burst through on goal but the ball bobbled horrendously for him and he wasn’t able to keep his effort on target. It was a very end to end pulsating opening quarter. Sittingbourne looked to test out Huffer from distance but the resulting shot never troubled the stopper. Pat Harding was the next Hillian to have a shot, in a game littered with them. The ball broke kindly for him on the edge of the box but he couldn’t keep his effort on target, a common theme of the first half for both sides. The Hill were starting to take control and keep the chances flowing. A Connor Tighe corner found Josh Spinks at the near post but he couldn’t direct it on target. If it was half chances you love, this was the game for you. Lewis Taylor the next man to shoot from distance but as was the common theme, the ball flew northwards. Finally, in the 29th minute we did force Harry Brooks into a save. The ball was played from left to right neatly and it found its way to Connor Tighe 20 yards out, he gave it a thwack and it was destined for the bottom corner until Brooks flung himself at full stretch to tip it around the post. Luckily for the Hillians, the opening goal did arrive in the next minute but in the most bizarre circumstances. There seemed to be little danger as Harry Brooks received the ball from one of his defenders but as the Hillians attackers put the pressure on him, the keeper appeared to panic and passed the ball straight to Martyn Box 10 yards out to simply stroke it into the unguarded net and open the scoring. Albeit the goal came in a fortuitous manner, it was fair on the balance of play. 1 almost became 2 just minutes later. Martyn Box again was at the heart of it, driving down the left, beating his man and pulling the ball across for Connor Tighe to run onto, he went for placement instead of power which was sensible but only the legs of a Brickies defender on the line stopped the lead being doubled.

HT: 0-1.

Sittingbourne knew they would have to be better offensively to get back on level terms in the second half and they went about doing this right away. A long free kick wasn’t dealt with very well by the yellows and after a bit of scramble and last ditch defending the trouble was snuffed out but the early warning signs were there. It was a relatively quiet second 45 which suited the Hill just fine until in the 65th minute, when they were almost breached. Some tidy play down the right hand side saw Harry Stannard get put through one on one, his effort managed to beat Will Huffer but out of absolutely nowhere, in flew Josh Spinks to hook it off the goal line from virtually underneath his own crossbar. A goal saving clearance of the highest order. Chances for the Hill had been few and far between in the second period, Tom Chalaye who was as hard working as ever did make a chance for himself, twisting and turning in the box before his shot was deflected and then kept out by Harry Brooks. A Nic D’Arienzo long throw was headed into the side netting by Spinks as the Hill looked to grab a game clinching second goal. They were almost made to pay for not finishing the match off, another set piece for the hosts saw Ibrahim Bamba unmarked at the far post but he got his header all wrong and sent it well well wide. The final chance came and went for the Brickies when a shot was sent into the huge trees behind the goal and those travelling Hillians could celebrate a 4th win on the trot.

FT: 0-1.

A gritty midweek performance after Saturday’s exploits is a testament to this spirited group of young Hillians. Another deserved 3 points for Jay Lovett’s merry men who are just finding form at the right time.

Next up, we play host to our good friends from across the county, Whitehawk.