Burgess Hill Town match report
News of a rail replacement bus service from Three Bridges wasn't going to keep me from getting to Burgess Hill Town on Saturday. Not only are K's on something of a roll at the moment but this was also a chance to see Andre McCollin in his new home.
McCollin is, famously, always more effective when angry so the away fans lulled him into equanimity by chanting his name at half-time. Smothered with love, he duly emerged a man becalmed.
K's hadn't won away in the league all season and this is just the sort of fixture we tend to mess up. Pre-match talk centred on the 5-1 defeat under Craig Edwards and, of course, the 3-1 which ended Tommy Williams' tenure.
The first-half was a bit of a non-event, aside from Alfie Doughty dribbling down the left and too many long balls being struck down the middle.
But we certainly looked the likelier after the break and, as usual, constituted a more coherent force with Shaun McAuley on the pitch. Just as it looked like a frustrating afternoon was going to end in a goalless draw, the hardworking strikers combined to seal the win. Four minutes from the end, Louie Theophanous was set free down the left by Elliott Buchanan’s clever flick. As Theophanous drove to the byline, Buchanan turned and raced into the box just in time to receive a perfectly-weighted cross/cut-back from his partner which he placed first-time into the back of the net.
It was the striker’s 12th goal of the campaign and lifted K’s into 9th place, only three points off the play-offs before out trip to Leatherhead on Wednesday.
Burgess Hill, still mired in relegation trouble, can count themselves slightly unfortunate. A first-half header was cleared off the line by David Fitzpatrick’s arm but the referee judged it to be ball-to-hand and chose not to award the home team a penalty. McCollin also hit the bar with a thunderous shot and threatened sporadically until he (we must assume) realised that K's need was greater.
Burgess Hill Town: Josh James, Ibrahim Diallo, Tom Cadman, Michael Wilson, Gary Elphick, James Richmond, Andre McCollin, Pat Harding, Ben Pope, Dan Beck, Billy Barker.
Subs: Charlie Bennett, Henry Watson, Lukas Franzen-Jones, Mitch Bromage, Tariq Richards (for Billy Barker, 46m).
Subs: James Daly (for Louie Theophanous, 85m), Shaun McAuley (for David Fitzpatrick, HT), Muhammadu Faal (for Elliott Buchanan, 90m), Josh Kyte.
Goal scorer: Elliott Buchanan (85m, 0-1)