The Hillians continued their pre-season campaign on Woodside Road’s new 3G pitch, where they participated in a three-team tournament alongside Worthing and Horsham.
There was an extensive list of absentees from the Burgess Hill ranks as Josh James, Toby Pointing, Sam Fisk, Will Miles, Andy Pearson, Joe Keehan, Scott Kirkwood and Pat Harding were all unavailable.
Burgess Hill started their day with a match against Horsham, who had recorded a 1-0 win against hosts Worthing beforehand thanks to Liam Baitup’s effort.
The Hillian’s new signing Chris Smith opened the scoring in the 10th minute when the former South Park man calmly stroked home from close range after Luke Donaldson’s shot had deflected into his path.
Dan Perry doubled Hill’s advantage five minutes later when tapped the ball into an empty net following a miscued Horsham clearance.
Joe Shelley pulled one back for Horsham in the 56th minute when the imposing midfielder fired home from just inside the area after Hill failed to clear their lines from a corner.
Three minutes later it was level and Shelley was in the thick of the action again. His initial effort was well saved by Green, however Charlie Farmer was on hand to head in the rebound to level proceedings.
The game ended honours even, with Burgess Hill fielding a completely different line-up for their second match of the afternoon with Worthing.
Any manager will tell you that results don’t matter in pre-season, but after Worthing’s 3-2 win at the Green Elephants Stadium back in April, there was an extra incentive for the Hillians to gain revenge.
It was Worthing who drew first blood when former Hillian Will Berry turned the ball in from close-range.
Ironically, it was two ex-Rebels who linked up to level the scores, as Callum Saunders coolly finished at the near post following Darren Budd’s perfectly weighted cross.
Worthing restored their lead in the 26th minute when Jack Barnes managed to turn the ball in on the line after Berry’s header.
The Rebels went in at the break with a 2-1 advantage, however Darren Pearse drew the sides level once again 10 minutes into the second-half as his side-footed shot cruised into the top corner of Fagan’s net.
The game took a tenacious turn towards the end with a bit of handbags over by the Worthing corner-flag, with Tommy Fraser and Jack Barnes being issued yellow cards for their troubles.
Fraser had the last laugh though as he watched teammate Pearse fire in his second, and Hill’s third of the match five minutes from time, to snatch the win.
Pearse once again showed great awareness and composure as he guided the ball over the on-rushing Fagan.
The game ended with a 3-2 win for the visitors, and on the day the Hillians won the mini tournament on goals scored.
It was a good run-out for all the players involved, with the younger contingent of Jack Bailey, Henry Daly, Josh Tuck and Elliott Dollner all performing admirably alongside their senior teammates.
HILLIAN V HORSHAM: Josh Green, Lee Harding, Jack Bailey, Rab Kiabalenga, Matt Smith, George Branford, Guy Bolton, Luke Donaldson, Phil Johnson, Dan Perry (Jack Rowe-Hurst 35), Chris Smith.
HILLIANS V WORTHING: Matt Morrish, Paul Armstrong, Henry Daly, Graham Martin, Josh Tuck (Elliott Dollner 35), Darren Budd, Dan Pearse, Tommy Fraser, Callum Saunders (Lee Harding 69), Jack Rowe-Hurst (Dan Perry 35), Josh Jones.
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