An early Saturday kick off, at 12.30 pm, brought me for my first ever visit, to Leylands Park, home of Burgess Hill Town of the Isthmian League South East Division.
Leylands Park holds 2500 people at capacity, with seating for 408. The highest attendance so far this season was the 579 who came for the local derby with Haywards Heath Town in September. The ground has two covered seated stands and a covered terrace. It also boasts a decent grass pitch, floodlighting as well as refreshment and bar facilities.
Burgess Hill Town have had a mixed season to date, sitting in mid table with eighteen points from fifteen games, which puts them ten points clear of the relegation places, but also eight points shy of the last play off spot. Manager Jay Lovett has a real goal grabber in Dan Perry, at his disposal, with sixteen league and cup goals to his name as we approached the mid point of the season.
Sittingbourne are four places lower than their opponents, in fifteenth, although with only one point less. Donvieve Jones was the away team’s top scorer coming into the fixture, with seven league and cup goals. Manager Nick Davis will want his team to turn around a poor run of recent form and will have seen this as a fixture his side could win.
The game opened with Burgess Hill Town controlling possession. In the ninth minute, the home side took the lead, with Dan Perry finishing from close range.
Sittingbourne fought back with Yousouff Bamba creating chances, until in the 27th minute Burgess Hill Town stamped their authority back on the fixture, when they went two ahead, with Lewis Finney curling a shot into the top corner of the Sittingbourne net, past Matt Cafer.
At half time, despite some resolute attacking by the away team, the score remained 2-0.
In the second half Burgess Hill had chances to put the game out of reach with Dan Perry going close on two occasions. Then, in the 62nd minute Sittingbourne pulled a goal back with Bamba breaking to eventually slip the ball through for Mario Quiassaca to make it 2-1.
Sittingbourne and Burgess Hill Town both had chances to score and Finney and Perry up front for the home side worked hard to make the most of any ball that came through to them. The home fans became frustrated at the amount of ball given back needlessly to Sittingbourne and it looked as if an unlikely comeback, from 2-0 down might be on the cards.
However it was the home side who saw out the game and secured all three points, Sittingbourne left frustrated as they know they could have got a point here, but in the final reckoning it was a talented Lewis Finney finish that won this one.