Leatherhead Vs Burgess Hill used to be a staple Ryman Premier fixture (as it was known back then!) but fortunes haven’t favoured neither team in recent years. This final pre-season clash was the tale of 2 sides who are only looking upwards now-a-days with 2 of the youngest, most exciting, non league managers going head to head. Jay Lovett has found the winning formula away from home, and he proved it once again in sunny Surrey…
It was the Tanners who had the first chance of the afternoon, one might’ve feared the worst for Mr Spinks and Mr Pollard with a fearsome home strike-force of Dave Tarpey and Elliot Buchanan (someone who loves a goal against us), Mr Tarpey tested Will Huffers reflexes with a sharp rising effort which Huffman did well to claim and hold onto. Truth be told this friendly started with a very impressive tempo from both sets of players, and it was rewarded with an early goal. Jeff Duah-Kessie sprung the offside trap and burst clear down the right hand side, he fed the ball back to fullback, Reggie Ward who took one touch and absolutely belted it hard and low, across the despairing home GK and into the bottom corner to give the Hill the lead. 1 nearly became 2 very quickly for Hill. Hayden Skerry danced his way through a cluster of Tanner defenders, he slipped in Charlie Kelly who’s powerful goal-bound shot was well tipped over by the home GK. From the resulting corner, how we didn’t quite score I still don’t particularly know. It was a very cleverly worked move, Lewis Finney received the ball on the edge of the box, he looked to curl one towards goal, it smashed the base of the post, the rebound fell for Harry Pollard who managed to hit the exact same post! Jermaine McGlashan is a name some of you will be familiar with, a player with many years of Football League and top semi pro experience, he now is Player/Coach for the Tanners and almost got the hosts level. It was a quick counter attack from the rapid wide man, he got towards Huffers goal and forced the ex Leeds stopper into a very good stop low down to keep our advantage. That stop proved even more vital when the Hill doubled the lead on the stroke of HT. A cracking team goal this, right from the back. Josh Spinks arrowed a sublime cross field ball to Dan Cadman who’s control was perfect, he roamed infield and laid it off for Hayden Skerry, he dropped a shoulder and smashed a ferocious effort, back across goal and into the bottom corner giving the poor GK precisely 0 chance.
It was a sublime first half showing from the boys in blue and the second 45 didn’t start to bad either! Just 4 minutes of the second half we’re played before Hayden Skerry crossed for Martyn Box who finished expertly at the far post to make it 3-0 to the Hill. Remember earlier I mentioned Elliot Buchanan? And he was always good for a goal against us? Yeah. I tell no lies people. He got his team back in it with a quite stunning 18 yard volley which fizzed past Huffer before he could even gulp. Game on. With 15 minutes to go, the hosts were awarded a very contentious penalty. A green went down in the vicinity of the area, the referee originally said corner, the linesman then flagged for a free kick, they then got together and had a chat, with the outcome being a Leatherhead penalty. Dave Tarpey stepped up and sent Huffer for a Cheeseburger to reduce the lead to just 1. Charlie Pitcher, fresh from the bench, had a good chance to wrap the game up but fired just over the bar after being teed up by a Trialing Trialist. Fear not, Mr Pitcher. The boy redeemed himself deep in added time. Connor Tighe hit the post for the Hill but Pitcher capitalised on the loose ball, beat his man and drilled an effort in at the near post, in off the post, the 4th and final time we hit the woodwork in the match, and that sealed the deal for Jay Lovett’s beautiful Burgess boy’s.
The Hillians had 5 away pre-season games and won the lot of them. Form. Yet another tough test overcome but pre-season results do not mean a single thing when the league kicks off. We shall keep our feet firmly on the ground but optimism will, as always, be sky high!
Next Up, do I need to remind you? Really? Are you sure? Oh alright then. Our Isthmian South East 2022/23 league campaign all gets underway next weekend when we welcome Ashford United to paradise. Be there.
Fill The Hill.