Fan’s View: Burgess Hill Town manager Ian Chapman deserves great respect

Whilst Josh James and Connor Tighe have completed a wonderful few days for our local Bostik Premier League side, Ian Chapman should be taking all the plaudits.

With now just five games to go the club can, perhaps, dream of yet another pulsating escape.

Josh James Man of the Match during Burgess Hill Town's 1-1 draw with Dulwich Hamlet. Picture by Colin Bowman SUS-180804-164711002

Josh James Man of the Match during Burgess Hill Town's 1-1 draw with Dulwich Hamlet. Picture by Colin Bowman SUS-180804-164711002

It seems as though we shall be going head-to-head with Tooting over the next 21 days.

After a torrid season of poor results, bad mistakes and atrocious luck, Chappers showed a lot of character and know-how when getting his team in for a Saturday afternoon practice on March 4.

I had the honour of covering that event and it turned into a very positive session with close control exercises and mini-games.

You could tell at that point there was a great team spirit and a willingness to work things out.

Burgess Hill Town boss Ian Chapman standing on the sideline against Dulwich Hamlet. Picture by Colin Bowman SUS-180804-164751002

Burgess Hill Town boss Ian Chapman standing on the sideline against Dulwich Hamlet. Picture by Colin Bowman SUS-180804-164751002

Since that point performances have been improving plus the team have picked up seven crucial league points.

The Green Elephants Stadium was rocking come 3pm on Saturday ahead of the visit of Bostik blue ribbon team Dulwich Hamlet.

The club have a massive following and big expectations as they look to win the title.

They travelled in big numbers to mid-Sussex and their pink jerseys mixed with the green of Hill made for a very colourful scene indeed.

Burgess Hill Town's Connor Tighe celebrates a world class momentagainst Dulwich Hamlet. Picture by Colin Bowman SUS-180804-164817002

Burgess Hill Town's Connor Tighe celebrates a world class momentagainst Dulwich Hamlet. Picture by Colin Bowman SUS-180804-164817002

The Hillians were in great nick after a wonderful 3-1 home win on Thursday evening.

The match kicked-off in dry mild conditions on what looked a very decent surface.

With both sets of fans in full cry the action was quick and very entertaining.

The visitors were wonderful going forward and looked very strong on the ball.

Perhaps they deserved to take the lead on 15 minutes from a near post prod from a corner.

That spurred them on to even better play.

However Hillians’ ‘keeper, Josh James, a fans’ favourite from the promotion season, then started to dominate. He went on to make five or six top-drawer saves to deny a rampant Dulwich attack; 1-0 at half-time.

With Pat Harding coming on at half-time, Hill managed to get a foothold and then started to press forward.

Backed by some wonderful, vocal support, the club started to believe.

Then on the hour mark Connor Tighe produced a world class moment of his own.

He got onto a Jack Brivio flick-on and then smashed a right-foot volley from 20 yards. The Green Elephants Stadium was in delirium!

It was a brilliant feeling to hold the league’s best team to a home draw and add another point to the relegation war chest.

Hill fans were magnificent in their appreciation of the team’s efforts.

Chappers does now seem to have the right blend, playing staff and most important attitude as we go into the final furlong.

After a very difficult time he deserves a huge amount of respect and congratulations.

And yet he of all people will be the first to acknowledge that Bostik survival isn’t guaranteed just yet.

He will now need to manage the weight of expectation and excitement of all connections and get his team ready for Enfield at home on Tuesday evening. We will all need to turn that key again!