Haywards Heath Town come from behind to beat Burgess Hill Town in Mid Sussex derby

In front of a crowd of 658, the Blues of Haywards Heath Town beat close neighbours, Burgess Hill Town, by the odd goal in three on bank holiday Monday after being a goal behind at the break.

Wednesday, 1st September 2021, 9:50 am
Action from Haywards Heath Town v Burgess Hill Town. Pictures by Chris Neal

The resultt kept Haywards Heath Town in top spot of the South East Division of the Pitching In Isthmian League.

With the length of the table separating the sides at the start of play, it was no surprise to see the visitors offer robust opposition as they eyed each other up over the first 20 minutes.

It was the visiting side, attempting to break Heath's winning start to the season, that showed the greater desire and hunger.

Trey Masikini celebrates putting Burgess Hill Town

It was no surprise when they opened the scoring on 25 minutes, as the lively Trey Masikini pounced on a defensive mistake before firing past Billy Collings in the home goal.

On the half hour mark, Tom Gilbert came to the host's rescue as his vital block stopped Shaun Saunders' side going further behind.

Holding a one goal lead at the break, the visitor's tactics had been spot on.

It was sad to see the Hillians' veteran, Scott Kirkwood, leave the field of play at half-time following a nasty gash that needed hospital treatment.

Haywards Heath Town celebrate Jerson Dos Santos' goal on the hour mark

As with Saturday, the wily old fox, Saunders, regrouped and refocused his Band of Blues, as they came roaring back as the second period started.

It took just nine minutes to find the equaliser and it was worth the wait. From Kieran Rowe's short free-kick, Jordan Clarke took aim and fired a beauty into the corner of Tommy Seymour's goal from 25 yards out.

With the home fans in full voice, the man of the match, Rowe then went close twice, one effort an audacious lob from 40 yards that was saved by Seymour at full stretch.

With a habit of scoring spectacular goals, Haywards Heath took the lead just after the hour mark, with another beauty.

Gil Carvalho chased down a clearance, the rebound allowing Jerson Dos Santos a run on goal, the forward sidestepped a defender and, from just outside the box, he smashed the ball past the Hillians' stopper, into the corner of the net to spark jubilant scenes for Heath players and fans alike.

Saturday saw Heath come from behind to win 2-1 at Sevenoaks Town, while the Hillians were beaten 2-0 at home by Phoenix Sports.

Haywards Heath boss Saunders said: "We were upbeat after our FA Cup win at Lancing but we knew we had two very tricky league games coming up.

"To have now won both is very pleasing but to have come from behind in both games shows the character of this squad.

"It is very early days but we are showing good signs and answering all questions posed."

Burgess Hill manager Jay Lovett added: "The weekend didn't go according to plan and finish the way we would have liked, but that;s football.

"But we aren't going to be down or negative about what has happened, not going to blame anyone or anything, its just down to us to put things right and there is still a very long season ahead."

Both sides are in FA Cup first qualifying round action this weekend, with Heath hosting Isthmian Premier Division outfit Horsham in a Sussex derby, and Hill taking on Bracknell Town at home.

Saunders said: "We will look to build upon the start we have made but, as everyone knows, it is just one game at a time and on Saturday we have another big one as Horsham visit Hanbury in the Emirates FA Cup."

Lovett added: "I know me, my staff, and the players I have hurt, and we want to correct certain things and do ourselves proud, whether that's in the FA Cup this weekend or the league match after or both."