Burgess Hill Town ended 2023 with three points as Gary Mansell picked up his first three points as Hillians manager with a 2-1 win over Herne Bay.
Mansell made six changes from the side that lost on Boxing Day which included starts for Under 18’s trio Harry Lawson, Joe Overy and Noah Hoffman who all highly impressed whilst Taylor Seymour returned in goal following injury.
Hillians had the first chance after five minutes at a windswept HomeCall Carpets Community Stadium when a good forward run by Kieran Rowe saw him find Marcel Powell on the left and he whipped in a cross that Dan Perry headed just over.
Powell was causing a few problems for the visitors down the left and he sent in another good cross but the danger was cleared away by veteran Bay defender Liam Friend.
A scramble in the Hill box which was cleared away was the visitors first major chance on 16 minutes and at the other end a Rowe free kick wasn’t held by visiting keeper Harry Brooks, Hoffman kept the move alive and found Perry but he couldn’t quite force an effort on goal.
The Hillians continued to impress and Martyn Box sent a good delivery into the box but Friend was again there to clear and soon after Overy nearly found Perry with his delivery but it was just a fraction ahead of the striker.
As half time approached Marcel Powell cut inside and curled an effort over the bar but he was celebrating on the stroke of half time as the Hillians took the lead.
Rowe burst down the right and whipped the ball in and Powell reacted quickest and smashed it through the goalkeeper’s legs and into the back of the net to put the Hill ahead at the break.
The Hillians remained solid at the beginning of the second half and deservedly doubled their lead on 59 minutes as Box sent a good delivery into the box and after a little scramble the ball broke for Overy who finished superbly for his first senior goal.
The lead was quickly halved as Herne Bay responded immediately when Theo Osinfolarin picked up the ball on the edge of the box and turned before shooting past Seymour.
The home side went in search of a third and Powell cut inside and forced a good save from Brooks and from the resulting corner Box headed wide and with twenty minutes remaining Hoffman lead a break but fired just over.
The visitors went close from a corner on 73 minutes but the final part of the game saw few clear cut chances for either side.
Lawson, who had been excellent throughout the match, was sent off in injury time but the Hill saw out the match comfortably to end the year on a high and send the majority of the excellent 468 crowd home with smiles on their faces.