Hillians edge seven-goal thriller to remain unbeaten in the Ryman South

Pat Harding netted the winner for Burgess Hill on Saturday
Pat Harding netted the winner for Burgess Hill on Saturday

Pat Harding netted ten minutes from time to ensure Burgess Hill Town Football Club came away with all three points at Merstham on Saturday.

It proved to be a fascinating Ryman League South contest as Hillians twice led but were pegged back as it was level at 3-3 with ten minutes left.

However, Burgess Hill were not to be denied all three points as Pat Harding netted late on.

The victory sees Burgess Hill remain seven points clear at the top of the Ryman League South as second-placed Faversham Town secured a 3-0 home success over East Grinstead.

Merstham showed their intent from the start and it only took them two minutes to have their first effort when Tommy Hutchins hit a shot from just outside the box that went well over.

It was the visitors who went in front on 16 minutes when Sam Fisk’s long throw was headed clear to Darren Budd who found Scott Kirkwood with a neat pass and he hit a low drive into the far corner.

Merstham were not behind for long, though, as they levelled on 25 minutes as Dean Gunner’s cross was met by Tutu Henrique.

The hosts had another chance on the half hour mark when captain Fabio Saraiva found space and hit a powerful shot that went just wide.

Lee Harding should of have done better just after this when he went past Dean Gunner and cut into the box but his cross was too close to home keeper.

Rob O’Toole was presented with a chance soon after when Brannon Daly’s punch clearance fell kindly to him but he failed to find the net with his header.

Hill went behind for the first time on 41 minutes, when the dangerous Taurean Roberts made a good run down the left before cutting inside creating himself space for a shot that was blocked.

The ball then fell kindly to Roberts and he made no mistake to slot past James.

Ian Chapman made a tactcal change at half-time when he dropped Pat Harding back to midfield and Lee Harding went up front, Hill started the half strongly and O’Toole went close only a minute in but his effort went just wide from the edge of the box.

Hill drew level on 52 minutes after Sam Fisk’s long throw was headed on by Pat Harding and Spencer Slaughter found the bottom corner with a first time shot from inside the box.

Lee Harding then put the visitors ahead three minutes later with a header.

Merstham levelled once again on 68 minutes when Osa Obamwoyi headed home.

The Hillians did manage to snatch a late winner to make it 31 games without defeat in the Ryman South.

Sam Fisk found space down the left and his excellent cross was met by Pat Harding whose powerful volley from six yards out found the back of the net to make it 4-3.

Burgess Hill Town: James; Slaugther, Fisk, Budd, Pearson; Miles, Kirkwood, Keehan, Pat Harding; Lee Harding, O’Toole. Subs: Martin (Budd), Donaldson (Pat Harding), Frazen-Jones, Armstrong, Taylor.