A controversial 66th minute equalising goal denied Burgess Hill Town all three points on the Club’s first ever visit to Hampton & Richmond Borough.
With the Hillians leading 1-0, Jerome Federico crossed the ball in for Charlie Moone who headed home. The linesman straight away raised his flag for a foul on goalkeeper Josh James but after consulting with his assistant, he over ruled him and gave the goal.
Manager Ian Chapman had to re-shuffle his side as Sam Fisk and Pat Harding were both away. Toby Pointing moved from right to left back with Dan Pearse coming into the defence. Chris Smith replaced Harding up front.
The Hillians were dealt an early blow when vice-captain Joe Keehan picked up a hamstring injury and was replaced by George Branford just 16 minutes in.
Will Miles saw his header from a corner deflected out for another corner midway through the first half, Hampton went close through Moone with an effort from just outside the box which went over and Smith headed wide from Callum Saunders cross in a half where chances were at a premium.
The second period was a completely different story with some great football played by both sides in a really entertaining half which sparked into life in the first minute as the Hillians took the lead.
Darren Budd’s pass found Smith and he superbly turned his marker and fired a low shot past the goalkeeper with a fine finish that showed why he scored so many goals last season.
A minute later Saunders struck a long range effort over the bar before the hosts thought they had equalised in the 55th minute when, following a free kick, Michael Kamara put the ball into the back of the net only for the linesman to rule it out for offside.
Hampton pressed for an equaliser and, from a corner Nicke Kabamba saw his overhead kick saved by James with the ball eventually cleared from danger. James was again called into action when he brilliantly tipped the ball round the post from a Tom Jelley free kick before Moone did equalise for the hosts.
The home side brought on experienced former Eastbourne Borough striker Richard Pacquette as they went in search of the winner and he was soon to be denied by James and again soon after the Hillians number one made a stunning save to deny Borough’s Kabamba.
I thought it was a really good performance, to miss a penalty, again a bit disappointing but it happens in football and overall it was probably a fair resultIan Chapman
With eight minutes remaining the Hillians had the chance to win all three points after being awarded a penalty. Smith saw his shot handled in the box and from the resulting spot kick he struck the post and sub Guy Bolton’s powerful follow up went straight into the grateful hands of home keeper Seb Brown.
Substitute Dan Perry, making his first appearance of the season following an injury, did have the ball in the back of the net but he was offside. The hosts had the final chance in the 93rd minute when Moone saw his overhead kick fly over the bar.
Chapman was pleased with the point and said to Hillians TV afterwards “I thought it was a cracking game of football, especially the second half. The boys are a bit aggrieved, because we got in front with a good finish and they got the equaliser, the linesman has given it as a foul and the referee has not trusted him there which is very difficult so on that side of it disappointed”.
“I thought it was a really good performance, to miss a penalty, again a bit disappointing but it happens in football and overall it was probably a fair result – Josh has pulled out two unbelievable saves and we’ve had a couple of chances at the other end”
A full interview with Ian Chapman and highlights on the game can be found on YouTube at Hillians TV.
Man of the Match: Josh James, plenty of fine performances from the Hillians but James just edges it with two fantastic saves to keep out Hampton with the scores level.
Hillians: Josh James, Dan Pearse, Toby Pointing, Andy Pearson, Will Miles, Darren Budd, Joe Keehan (George Branford 16), Scott Kirkwood, Lee Harding, Calum Saunders (Guy Bolton 74), Chris Smith (Dan Perry 85)
Not used: Cam Wiltshere & Luc Doherty
Hampton: Seb Brown, Michael Kamara, Tom Jelley (Jake Rose 90), Joe Hicks, Moussa Diarra, Ryan Newman (Ryan Pacquette 73), Jerone Federico, Herson Rodrigues-Alves (Eddie Hutchinson 79), Nicke Kabamba, Charlie Moone, Josh Casey.
Not used: Mattie Pierson & Rheo Josephs
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