First Team
Isthmian League South East Division Sat 26 November Eden Park Avenue
Beckenham Town
  • Brissett (2')
  • Waldren (90')
Burgess Hill Town
  • Elson (3')

It was the Hillians first visit to Eden Park Avenue since a cup match in the 90s and with the earlier kick off time of 2pm, this game always had the feeling of being a little bit odd.

If it was fast starts you were looking for, then goodness me, you were in the right place. Not even 120 seconds had been played before the home side opened the scoring. Stefan Cox jinked his way down the left hand side, pulled a cross into the box where the defending was static at best and Jamarie Brissett was free as a bird to flick the ball into the retuning Will Huffer’s far post. Not the start Jay Lovett would’ve expected but he would’ve been much happier 60 seconds later. The Hillians won a corner and Becks failed to clear their lines and it came to Ashley Elson on the edge of the box who fired a cracking strike past the despairing Nick Blue and into the top corner. 2 goals in 3 minutes, are you not entertained! Naturally, the game did settle a little from here after that ridiculous opening. The Hillians were without captain Josh Spinks through suspension and that meant a reshuffle at the back was needed. This meant a full league debut at the back was given to 17 year old, U18s defender Zack Lawrence. Although he was playing at RB, he had the games next chance. Sam Remfry, fresh from his 2 goals in Sheppey, crossed the ball in and Lawrence came flying in at the back post but he headed straight at Nick Blue, the Beckenham custodian. Pretty similarly to Tuesday evening, the first half was very end to end. Beckenham got themselves into a dangerous position but lacked any kind of composure with the finish, leathering the ball out of the ground. You can see why Beckenham are in the chasing pack for the play offs, they have the leagues top scorer, Louie Theophanous in the side. He forced Will Huffer into a brilliant one on one save to keep the scores level. He had to be alert just a few minutes later as well as Lewis Finney lost the ball dangerously and Becks broke with Huffer repelling the danger once more. It had been a while since a Hill chance, step forward Sam Remfry. Growing in confidence, Ginge picked the ball up and drove at the home defence, eventually letting fly with Nick Blue having to get down low to tip around the post. Harry Pollard is without a goal this season and he tried to change that by marauding forward and unleashing from 25 yards, once again Nick Blue got down and made the save.

HT: 1-1.

The first half was action packed, end to end and a very exciting game of football. The second half. Was not. It was almost as if a gentleman’s agreement was reached at HT to both settle for a 1-1. Chances were few and far between. Hills first chance of the second 45 came for the goalscorer, Elson. Lewis Finney slipped him in but his finish lacked power and Blue made one of his simpler saves. It took until the 70th minute for Beckenham to have a real effort on Huffmans goal, a cross from the right was headed straight at the retuning Hill custodian. Like I mentioned, the second 45 was not in keeping with the opening 45 but suddenly, as we headed into the last 10 minutes, everything seemed to change. The makeshift backline did really well to keep Theophanous quiet for the majority but he came to life, dancing through the backline before firing what looked like a certain goal, only to see it blocked on the line. If that wasn’t a warning sign, this was. With 10 to play, that boy Theophanous had the ball in the net, only to see the linesmans flag raised, in a very tight decision. From this game just drifting to a draw, suddenly it was all Beckenham and they looked dangerous. Hill hadn’t created much themselves and didn’t particularly look like grabbing a winner. But they almost did. Sam Remfry bombed down the left and crossed for Dan Perry, who instinctive left footed shot from 6 yards was extraordinary stopped by the paws of Nick Blue. Harry Pollard looked to keep the pressure on by having a dig from range but this time it flew harmlessly wide. What happens next could well be the cruelest 30 seconds of football I have ever witnessed live. Substitute Charlie Kelly provided the freshest of legs, leaving Becks defenders eating grass and he whipped a perfect ball for Dan Perry who diverted it for what was a sure goal… No. That man Blue was there get a partial block on the ball and react quickest to stop the ball trickling over the line. If that wasn’t gut wrenching enough. This was. Stefan Cox found some energy from somewhere to breeze down the right and with the Hillians flagging and the clock past 90, his low cross was turned home by Beckenham captain Danny Waldren to leave Burgess Hill wondering why they bother playing this silly sport.

FT: 2-1.

A lack of ambition perhaps proved the downfall as a game that was there to be won was inexplicably lost. Consistency is still the biggest cause of Jay Lovett’s headache but he and the rest of the Hill connections will have been feeling morbidly sick at 4pm.

Next up, we once again aim to play our Sussex Senior Cup 2nd round tie as we welcome Horsham YMCA to paradise on Wednesday evening.