Burgess Hill Town 1-1 Canvey Island
Canvey Island picked up vital Ryman League Premier Division point from a hard-fought 1-1 draw at Burgess Hill Town.
Manager Danny Heale named an unchanged starting XI from the side that won 4-0 away to Metropolitan Police three days earlier. There were, however, two changes on the substitutes bench with Jay Curran and new loan signing Manny Oyeleke coming in for Callum Ibe and Omarr Lawson.
Canvey started the match brightly and had the first opportunity of the match on ten minutes when Mitchell Gilbey was fouled having cut in from the right. The Canvey players wanted a penalty but the referee and his assistant decided that the contact was just outside the area.
Ashley Dumas stood over the free kick and went for goal from a tight angle which sailed a couple of yards over the crossbar.
Two minutes later George Sykes closed down a loose ball inside the area with goalkeeper Josh James coming off his line at the same time. Both players got to the ball at the same time, and although Sykes got the all-important touch, James did enough to ensure that the shot went narrowly wide.
The Hillians had their first shot on goal after 17 minutes when left back Leon Redwood launched a long-range effort which Conor Gough was able to beat away for a throw diving low to his right.
Canvey took the lead on 19 minutes when Ashley Dumas played a perfectly weighted through ball for Harrison Chatting to run onto down the left wing. Chatting sent over an excellent cross which was powerfully headed home by Simon Thomas from close range.
Having been involved in the goal two minutes earlier, Ashley Dumas was then Canvey’s saviour on 21 minutes. A ball was played through for Tyrell Richardson-Brown inside the area, but as he was about to pull the trigger Dumas slid in with a terrifically timed sliding tackle to dispossess the forward at the crucial moment.
Harrison Chatting came close on 29 minutes when he collected a low ball from the right wing on the edge of the area, shuffling it onto his left foot before firing a powerful shot just wide of the top corner with Josh James beaten.
Burgess Hill’s best chance came in the 33rd minute when Leon Redwood was played in bursting into the area from the left. However, Conor Gough did well to close down the shot and save with his left foot.
The Gulls broke straight up the other end and came inches away from doubling their advantage. Frankie Merrifield played a low pass from the right into Simon Thomas who was in the area with his back to goal. Thomas showed good strength to hold off his marker, spinning off to his right and hitting a well-struck shot which hit Josh James and flew agonisingly wide for a corner.
Leading 1-0 at the break, George Sykes set off on a determined run straight from the kick-off for the second half which saw him have a shot from a tight angle deflected behind for a corner inside 30 seconds of the restart.
Harrison Chatting then had a shot from a tight angle on the left tipped over the bar by Josh James for a corner. A low cross to Mitchell Gilbey inside the area may have been a better option, but to Chatting’s credit, he did manage to work the keeper.
The Hillians equalised on 70 minutes when Tyrell Richardson-Brown collected possession just inside the area from a central position. Conor Gough came off his line to close down the forward, but having got there he could only stand his man up through fear of conceding a penalty. This allowed Richardson-Brown the chance to turn and fire home into a relatively unguarded net to level.
Manager Danny Heale made two changes in an attempt to regain his lead, introducing Manny Oyeleke and Jay Curran in place of Ryan Blackman and Simon Thomas.
The goal, however, changed the complexion of the match, giving Burgess Hill the scent of victory while making Canvey slightly more reserved.
However, the closest that either side came to grabbing a winner came on 82 minutes when a square ball into the danger zone from the left by Harrison Chatting was pounced on by Josh James before George Sykes or Jay Curran could finish.
Burgess Hill Town: Josh James, Lee Harding, Leon Redwood, James Richmond, Sam Fisk, Cheick Toure, Toby Pointing (86), Pierre Hazet (58), Tyrell Richardson-Brown, Billy Medlock (46), Jack Brivio (Capt)
Subs: Pat Harding (46), Guy Bolton, Dan Pearse (86), Will Miles, Ashley Nzala (58)
Canvey Island: Conor Gough, Gabby Adelowo, Ashley Dumas, Frankie Merrifield, George Allen, Steve Sheehan, Mitchell Gilbey (66), Ryan Blackman (Capt) (74), George Sykes, Simon Thomas (76), Harrison Chatting
Subs: Martin Tuohy, Manny Oyeleke (74), Jay Curran (76), Jake Pitty, Marlon Agyakwa (66)