With Victoria Park submerged in murky water Nozinhio worked effortlessly to get this game on at another venue. Easthill Park was the destination for the Amber Army and their loyal fans! The pitch was in excellent condition considering all the adverse weather recently although a slope had to be taken into consideration by the players.
Three changes from last week. Animal Richard Scott was away watching his beloved Pompey take down the mighty Coventry, Bison was wounded after a Lion attack and John Boddy was unavailable due to a head injury. Kevin Balcombe came in at centre back, El Hornsby slipped into the centre midfield and Jacob Everett took his position up on the wing. A familiar face appeared on the sidelines to cheer us on. No other than Prince Ryan made the effort to come along to conitue his rehabilitation from a broken leg. A welcome sight but Norris was torn as which way to look all game!
Before the match hard-man Kev Balcombe was awarded the illustrious 200 appearance plate by chairman Cliff Emberlin, who managed to drag himself out of his sickbed to make the presentation. Congratulations to Kev who is now inducted into the hall of fame!
The game started very evenly with only half chances presenting themselves from set pieces. On 26 minutes Rich Smith was called into action and made a superb double save to keep the game level. Save(s) of the season by him. However, Slade fell behind in the 35 minute when some miscommunication led to their big number 8 getting in on goal and lobbing a stranded Rich Smith. Disappointment and a cruel way to go behind. 0-1.
Nozinhio rallied the troops at half-time . We all could up our game by 10-20% but that didn't quite go to plan as in the 46 minute Burgess Hill doubled their when the slippy number 11 got his first goal of the game.. A bitter pill to swallow. 0-2.
With nothing much in the game Slade felt a little unfortunate to be 2 goals down but in the 50th minute we pulled one back when Karl Boffey launched is 34th long throw in of the game. The keeper couldn't deal with it and palmed it into the net. An unfortunate mistake by the keeper who had been taunted by four 12 year olds behind the goal. 1-2.
With Slade pushing for an equaliser it left the door open to be counter-attacked. in the 61st minute Burgess Hill did just that when their number 11 broke the offside trap again and rolled the ball past Rich Smith into the net 1-3.
In the 68th minute Slade got back in the game again. Jacob Everett played a delightful slipped ball into Sean Trend. He got the ball on this right foot and the keeper again couldn't hold onto it as it dribbled into the net. Game on. 2-3 !
The remainder of the game saw Slade throw everything at Burgess Hill with Karl Boffey going close with a volley and Jacob Everett shooting just wide from 23 yards. Even the appearance of playboy Jon $tubbs and Rich Smith marauding forward for set pieces wasn't enough and Burgess Hill held on for a vital win.
Honourable mentions to Jack Larkham, Matt Hornsby and Jacob Everett who were all contenders for man of the match. However, the award goes to Karl Boffey. His throw-ins were key throughout and he got the bit between his teeth and held the ball up superbly, especially in the last 30 minutes.
Two games to look forward to next Easter weekend and we should be fired up to finish the season in a high as position as possible.
Team: 1. Smith 2. Collins 3. Larkham 4. Weir 5. Balcombe 6. Trend (C) 7. Cook, N 8. Hornsby 9. Boffey 10. Sutton 11. Everett SUBS: 12 Graves 14 Stubbs