Burgess Hill’s unbeaten run almost came to an end at Redhill on Tuesday night, but an 86th minute equaliser from Callum Saunders ensured a it remained in tact.
The Hillians went into this game the clear favourites over relegation spot Redhill and in the first ten minutes their dominance was clear to see.
Within 3 minutes Rob O’Toole was able to put a direct cross into the box where Callum Saunders was ready to head the ball goal bound.
This effort was rebounded back out into the box where Pat Harding was then able to take a shot on goal.
Unfortunately for Hill, this attempt was also denied by the Redhill defence. Shortly after this it was Callum Saunders who saw the opportunity to cross the ball in to Rob O’Toole who headed the ball straight into the hands of Michael Hunter. Saunders was doing well to find space down the wing and on 8 minutes was able to put in another good cross which was met by Scott Kirkwood and Michael Hunter who both collided in their attempts to gain possession of the ball. Hunter was able to regain control of the ball and clear to safety for Redhill where their counter attack saw Daniel Thompson fire a dangerous cross towards the Hillians’ goal but Andy Pearson was in position to clear the threat.
Will Miles came close to opening the scoring on 12 minutes when he connected with a Callum Saunders corner and was able to strongly head the ball in the direction of the Redhill goal but his effort was deflected and cleared.
Redhill started to gain more possession and create chances of their own which were challenging the Burgess Hill defence. On 34 minutes the opening goal of the game went to Redhill’s George Craddock from a free kick which looped over the entire defence and to the amazement of the majority of spectators, crept into the top right corner and beyond the reach of Josh James in the Hill goal. Andy Pearson nearly equalised 5 minutes before the end of the half when his strong header was just saved by Hunter to deny the visitors their first goal of the evening.
The beginning of the second half was pretty even with both sides sharing possession and creating chances.
On 56 minutes Scott Kirkwood was replaced by Lee Harding in the hope that this extra attacking force would help Hill to find the equalising goal they had been desperately trying to create. Sam Fisk found himself unmarked on the edge of the box on 63 minutes and pulled off a great shot that thundered towards goal and required a tap over the bar from Hunter. Just two minutes later Hill were given a free kick for a foul on Callum Saunders which was taken by Will Miles but this attempt on goal was deflected and cleared by the swarm of Redhill players in the box who were desperately trying to retain their lead. The chances kept coming for Burgess Hill and Lee Harding was the next to step up and have an attempt on goal.
Sadly before Lee could take his shot, the ball was recovered by three Redhill defenders that surrounded the advancing Harding. A further change was made on 79 minutes when Darren Budd came on for Rob O’Toole. Burgess Hill Town’s equaliser came on the 86th minute when a miss-hit shot from Callum Saunders was deflected and sent the keeper diving as the ball trickled over the line in the opposite direction. This match was scrappy throughout as both teams tried to take every chance they were given but this draw gives Hill a vital point that contributes towards their title push.
Burgess Hill Town: Josh James, Stuart Tuck, Sam Fisk, Dan Pearse, Andy Pearson, Will Miles, Scott Kirkwood (Lee Harding 56), Joe Keehan, Pat Harding, Callum Saunders, Rob O’Toole (Darren Budd 79)
Unused Subs: Graham Martin, Max Taylor, Tom Bold