Burgess Hill managed to clean sweep the month of January, winning 5/5 and our latest success came in a Sussex Derby with Whitehawk, where once again Martyn Box popped up to grab the match winning goal for the third consecutive game.
The action off the pitch was more enthralling than the opening stanza of play on it; both sets of fans are notorious for being noisy and both demonstrated why with Drums, Horns, Keys and Tambourine’s, just some of the musical instruments on display for our ears to be deafened by. Back to the stuff on the pitch, it was the Hawks from East Sussex who had the opening half chance. Ex Hillian Dan Thompson, making his Whitehawk debut demonstrated some nice hold up play before spreading the play out wide to Javuan Splatt. The ex Dulwich man then attempted to take on Reggie Ward in the box, he managed to fashion just enough space to fire at Tommy Reid but the young Hill stopper turned it the post. 2 minutes later, the Hillians had their opening chance and it’s one which probably should of been buried. Some slack Hawks defending and some typical Lewis Finney pressure forced Tegan Freeman into making a mistake as Finney nicked the ball off his toes on the edge of the Hawks box. Keeper Stroomberg was off his line but Finney attempted to curl it around him instead of dinking him and unfortunately fired straight at the visiting pink shirt wearing net minder. Clear cut chances were not being carved out regularly enough for either teams liking. Hawks created another half chance when Peter Gregory crossed looking for Splatt but his tame header rolled comfortably wide of Tommy Reid’s goal. The best chance for Burgess Hill in the opening 25 minutes fell to the wrong man. The Hawks failed to properly clear a corner and Hill kept it alive, Nic D’Arienzo found Conrad Honore with acres of space and time to pick out a Green shirt in the middle. His chipped ball in was absolutely perfect for Josh Spinks but he glanced his header wide of the goal instead of inbetween the 2 white posts. That big chance was quickly followed by another game trending half chance. Conrad Honore had a go from distance but it was always veering off target. Hayden Skerry looked to make a mark on his return to the 11 but a free kick from distance once again didn’t trouble Stroomberg in the Hawks net. He was however, called into action moments later. Once again Lewis Finneys intense pressing caused Hawks panic at the back, he intercepted a pass and Tom Chalaye set up Lewis Taylor who curled an outstanding effort towards the goal and it would’ve nestled in the top bins had it not been for a flying Nathan Stroomberg denying him. When these 2 sides, who are separated only by the South Downs met earlier this season, Stroomberg proved a tricky customer to score against, unfortunately for him he was about to be beaten by the last touch of the first half. The Greens won a pretty soft foul out on the wide left flank, Lewis Finney’s wand of a right foot could not of placed it on Martyn Box’s head better and for some reason the most inform man in the league was left completely unmarked from 6 yards to bullet it home and ruin Stroombergs clean sheet.
Whitehawk knew they would have to be more of an attacking threat in the 2nd 45 and it only took them 3 minutes of the second half to show they weren’t gonna roll over. Tegan Freeman had far too much time to set himself from 25 yards and only an acrobatic Tommy Reid save prevented him grabbing the equaliser. The second half was even less watchable than the first half, we won’t lie to you. It certainly wasn’t for a lack of effort from both sides but neither could click offensively how they would like. Jay Lovett’s men did fashion a good chance when Nic D’Arienzo found Conrad Honore in space in the box but the teenager pulled his shot wide, instead of testing the Hawks stopper. Whitehawk we’re huffing and puffing as you would expect but the reinvigorated back line never looked like crumbling. Peter Gregory did find Ollie Munt in the box but even then the football wouldn’t sit down for him and his volley just sailed into the winter trees behind the Ashley Carr Terrace. The absolutely jam packed decking of woe didn’t see much of the football second half but on a rare foray forward, Lewis Finney had a goalbound left footed effort well blocked by Mo Kamara. As long as the game stayed at 1-0, the Hawks were just waiting for there moment and it came in the 87th minute. Former Hillian Harry Reed picked out Dan Thompson unmarked 15 yards out but the strikers attempt was wild and not very close to the target. A huge let off for the men in Green.
That was all she wrote in this Sussex Derby as the Hill finally got one over on the Hawks after years of no success against them, thanks to Martyn Box’s close range header.
Yesterdays match sponsors, Mansell McTaggart awarded the Man Of The Match to Martyn Box.
Next up for Jay Lovett’s men is another Sussex Derby as this time we head West to do battle with Chichester City on Tuesday evening!