Burgess Hill Town boss Simon Wormull hailed the impact of new boy Keano Deacon and the back four, as the Hillians moved out of the Bostik Premier relegation zone with a 3-0 home victory over Merstham on Saturday.
Hill opened the scoring through James Richmond before late second half strikes from Ben Pope and debutant Deacon sealed the win for the Green Elephants Stadium-outfit.
Wormull said: “We didn’t play particularly well first half. We showed them too much respect and with a bit of luck we went 1-0 up. Second half I thought we really took the game to them. I think we deserved the win.
“We’ve got Keano Deacon and he scored on his debut and did well. I also think the back four were excellent on Saturday. People like Gary Elphick and Josh James were outstanding and kept us in the game.”
Simon Wormull made three changes to the side who lost 1-0 to Kingstonian last Saturday, with new signings; defender Dan Choules, midfielder Brian Galach and striker Deacon all handed their Hillians debuts.
Merstham started brightly, striking the post in the 15th minute, as Harry Osborne’s cross deceived everyone. In the 23rd minute, Walter Figueira’s snapshot rebounded back off James’ right-hand post, with the forward just managing to beat the offside trap, before Galach’s attempt was blocked by a Merstham defender.
Figueira then hit James’ far post and Tom Kavanagh’s follow up went just wide of the Hillians goal. Figueira then attempted an overhead kick but the effort was easily taken by James.
In the 29th minute the Hillians opened the scoring, as Michael Wilson’s delicious free-kick was met by Richmond who side-footed the ball past the helpless Amadou Tangara. The first half ended with a save each from James and Tangara - as both sides continued to trade blows.
The Hillians started the second half at a great tempo, with Deacon and Pat Harding both forcing good saves out of Tangara. In the 62nd minute, Ben Pope passed up a golden opportunity to double the Hillians’ lead, as he blasted high and wide from a promising position.
Sub Andre McCollin won himself a free-kick on the edge of the area but he struck the base of the wall before his attempt with the outside of his boot was well gathered by Tangara.
Elphick defended outstandingly throughout, throwing himself in-front of every shot. He was on hand to block Kavanagh’s shot although there were appeals for handball.
Two goals in two minutes fired the Hillians into a three goal lead, with Pope firing a thunderous free-kick into the top corner before Deacon opened his Hillians account in stoppage time with a lovely finish.
Hill travel to Corinthian Casuals on Saturday.
Burgess Hill: James, Choules (Kipeya 88). Cadman (Diallo 70), Wilson, Elphick, Richmond, Galach (McCollin 56), Harding, Pope, Beck, Deacon.