Burgess Hill have the 4th highest average attendance in the Isthmian South East, yet they hadn’t treated the most loyal of fans to a Leylands Park victory in 2023. Until now.
The Hillians got a humbling the last time they were in Paradise on Tuesday evening and needed to bounce back, and they made the absolute perfect start. Hayden Skerry battled away in the midfield to win the ball and his tenacious play was rewarded. He spread the play out wide to Reggie Ward who whipped an inch perfect cross right onto the head of the leagues top scorer, Hitman Dan Perry who is in the form of his life and he made no mistake, glancing his header right into the bottom corner. 26 for the Hitman. Not the start that the team bottom of the league would have wanted but there is a fighting spirit and never say die attitude about the visiting Hoops and they quickly set about getting back on level terms. Brandon Davey found a bit of space and drove into it before firing his teams first effort wide of Huffers far post. Midway through the first half, Corinthian thought they had levelled. That man Davey again was involved, his cross from the left was headed back by Sam Bewick, Sam Fitzgerald towered above everyone to power a header past Huffer but the referee blew up for a push by the giant, a correct decision but a warning for Hill. It was quite an end to end first 45, with chances coming at both ends. Hayden Skerry was again key offensively for Hill, he found Hitman out wide, Perry cut in on his left and tested Daniel Colmer out but it was a good low save from the oppo GK. The next chance was a good one for Hill, Connor Tighe whipped a great corner in from the left and captain Lewis Taylor got free but bulleted his header over when he probably should have hit the target. When you are down near the bottom, sometimes you just need a bit of luck to turn a game around and Corinthian almost got this. Sam Bewick charged down a Will Huffer clearance and suddenly it was a foot race between Bewick and Huffer, Bewick got to it first but he was forced wide and as he tried to square it for a team mate to tap in, Hill got back to clear the danger. Big sigh of relief allround. On the stroke of HT, the Hillians had the perfect chance to make the gaffers team talk easier, by ‘winning’ a penalty. It was a big punt downfield from Huffer which Corinthian failed to deal with, Sam Fitzgerald and Perry got into a bit of a grapple but it certainly seemed like Perry was doing more of the fouling. It continued into the box and Perry went down and to the surprise of most inside Paradise, the referee pointed to the spot. The protests were strong and lengthy by the visitors, quite understandably really but 3 visiting players were booked in the aftermath. The Hillians had a pretty rubbish record from the spot this season but Dan Perry busted that myth, absolutely wacking it straight down the middle to notch his 27th goal of the season. Suddenly, from being a close contest, this game was about to be very out of reach. Josh Spinks hoofed a ball down field which was clearly a tactic, get the Hoops defence turned, the visitors failed to clear the football and as GK Daniel Colmer went to clear the ball, Hayden Skerry got there first, chipped it over him but got absolutely wiped out by the GK for his troubles. The referee, who might of got the pen wrong, certainly got this right, brandishing Colmer with a straight red and forcing Corinthian CB, Jamie Billings to have to go in goal. Unfortunately for everyone involved with the Kent club, the first thing he had to do was watch Dave Martin smash the resulting free kick into his top corner. It was an absolute rocket from the former Millwall man and that just about wrapped the game up on the stroke of HT.
A 3-0 lead, against bottom of the league, with the visitors having to play with a CB in goal for 45 minutes. Expectations were high for a fun second half. They were quickly tempered. Sam Bewick did well to keep a deep free kick alive, he then beat Connor Tighe far too easily on the left and pulled the ball back for Oscar Housego who’s effort beat Josh Spinks on the line and got the 10 man Hoops back into the game. Hill were keen to settle any nerves that goal might’ve caused, Dave Martin had the Hillians first crack of the half, you would’ve thought the message would’ve been to just get shots off at poor Jamie Billings in the goal but Martin thrashed his effort into the side netting. Corinthian, albeit with what must seem like the world against them, kept pushing and probing. The extremely lively Oliver Box fizzed a cracking ball into the six yard box but there was nobody in yellow on the end of it but the comfortable second half many had expected was not happening. Unfortunately for the spirited visitors, time was quickly slipping away and Hill almost sealed it. Hayden Skerry again was instrumental, he found Dave Martin who looked to cross for Skerry but it was just cleared away in the nick of time. The resilient Hoops were powerless to stop the next attack however, and that was that. Hayden Skerry nutmegged Jack Beerling and whipped a cross in which Martyn Box latched onto to thump his 6th goal of the season. Credit still to our opponents who kept coming at the Hill, a long throw fell to Brandon Davey who made Huffer get down low to keep it out from the edge of the area. The final chance of the afternoon came for the Hoops. Hill let a long ball bounce and Oliver Box tried to repeat his name sake but HuffMan got his angles spot on to repel the danger and secure the W.
A morale boosting and much needed 3 points for the Hillians which sees them move 4 points clear of the bottom 4, with a much better goal difference to boot.
Next up for your Hillians, it’s a trip to Adebayo Akinfenwa’s Faversham Town next Saturday. No, I’m not joking.