I have just got in (12.30am) reflecting on a tough evening for Burgess Hill Town Fc and their small but loyal set of travelling fans.
Since my last Hillians report, the opening day win at Needham Market, manager Ian Chapman and his team have been on a roller coaster ride in the Ryman Premier League.
Four wins has been a fantastic achievement but three losses on the spin would have been hard to swallow. One of those losses was a five nil drubbing by Harrow Borough at the Green Elephants Stadium on 26th August. It then seemed appropriate therefore to bring you the return encounter at Earlsmead Stadium Harrow last Tuesday evening.
I left Brighton station at 4.19 direct to Clapham meeting up with Hill regulars Sponge and Smirf. Hoping to escape the Wembley bound crush (England v Switzerland) we travelled over ground to Shepherd’s Bush and then underground to Northhalt where we had tea in The Crown. A really favourable establishment in the leafy part of town. After steak and chips plus several excellent London Pride’s we jumped into a cab for the short ride to the ground.
It seemed the Wembley traffic had caused problems as kick off was delayed by 15 mins to allow everyone to get there. Earlsmead is a well appointed stadium with a small main stand and long covered terrace on the other side of the pitch. That’s where most of the 161 crowd seemed to be gathered so the 20 Hill fans followed suite. Plus it was the side of the dug out so we could have some banter with the management team.
As you will see from the match report the hosts went on to secure an early double over the Mid Sussex team. The only goal of the game came very early on when Lewis Driver seemed to react quickest to the second ball. From the left side of the box he hit an unstoppable shot across goal which nestled in the back of the net. Josh James no chance. At that point it was easy to think ‘here we go again’ but to their credit Hillians bounced back well.
Lee Harding made three or four searching runs down the left putting in decent crosses. In the second half action turned into a war of attrition. Although the visitors offered a lot of balls into the area they never seemed create that one moment of clarity in front of goal. On the final whistle Harrow fans and all connections were delighted to have hung on. However you could sense that Ian, his back room staff and players felt that there could easily had been a point to take away.
It’s always a much tougher trip home for fans when your team has lost and getting back from North West London seemed to go on for hours. That was also probably true for those travelling back by car. A long evening for all. That result has reemphasised the huge gap between Ryman South and Premier. Its going to be a case of patience, working hard as a group and taking to most of your chances. I am confident that Ian and his team will bridge that gap more and more as the season progresses. As fans we will have to continue supporting the club and then savour every point gained.
Cost’s train fair £15, entrance £10 refreshments £10. The next report will come from Mansfield Fc when we take in CTFC on Saturday.
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