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Cross from Matt Darby towards Sean Kelly

Cup defeat as Hillians gain revenge

Monday 27 January 2014

United has only one win under its belt during 2014, a 1-0 win against Herne Bay and, after the dismissal of manager John Maggs and First Team Coach Cliff Cant, Terry White has been appointed permanent first team manager. The Third Round of the Sussex Senior Cup saw United play Burgess Hill for the third time this season. First, there was a 1-1 draw at Burgess Hill, then, at the Pilot Field United fought back from a two-goal deficit to win 3-2; could this be the Hillian’s happy hour, or the Hillian’s hell hole? Liam Willis reports.

United started the game strongly, a cross from the left from Bailo Camara found Ronnie Dolan in the centre, whose left footed effort was smartly saved by Mansfield. From the drop kick, the Hillians instantly pressed forward. A Slaughter cross from the right after a darting run was crucially intercepted by United midfielder Sean Kelly. Chances at both ends came as the game picked up in pace,but the efforts of Slaughter and Pogue produced nothing to headline.

Good United possession allowed a nice interchange between Adams and Dolan and Adams to cross to an unmarked Vickers, who alas could not direct his powerful header beyond Mansfield – the goalie caught it with a smile on his face. The game seemed to slow down in tempo for the last quarter of an hour and chances were squandered at both ends. Goalless at half time was a fair indication of the state of play that the 172 spectators had witnessed during the first forty-five minutes.

Burgess Hill seemed to start the second half with all guns blazing. A wonderful effort from Luer’s cross saw Max Miller crash a header against the crossbar from six yards, with Josh Pelling well beaten. United then had a couple of opportunities of their own but once again failed to make it count. Burgess Hill once again came forward in numbers, and suddenly the inexperience of 17-Year-Old defender Sam Cruttwell showed. Cruttwell failed to deal with Miller and allowed him to cross to Harding, who thumped his header beyond Pelling to give the Hillian’s the lead.

Burgess Hill instantly came close to a second, and this was emphasised by the groans around the Pilot Field, followed by a sigh of relief. Kirkwood’s shot after superb individual play was tipped round by United goalkeeper Josh Pelling. United’s first change came when Andy Corrigan replaced Tom Vickers. After a set of United corners, the ball rolled out towards Dolan, who drove a thirty yard effort just over Mansfield’s crossbar.

Pressure from Burgess Hill then saw United concede a corner, and a scrap in the United penalty led to Miller’s shot being tipped round by Pelling, with United just hanging on. With only fifteen minutes to go, United trailed and Terry White made his second change of the evening, Ronnie Dolan was replaced by Jordan Woodley. A strong penalty shout for United was waved away by referee, Carl Brook, when Camara went tumbling; he was then booked for diving, much to Bailo’s and the United faithful’s displeasure.

With time running out, United piled on the pressure, and Sam Adams made way for Jacob Shelton. Shelton made an instant hit with the squad, as his cross was perfect for Sean Kelly, who thumped a header that was destined for the goal. However Mansfield had other ideas – he flew over and got a superb hand to the ball, pushing it round the post to his right. With United piling on the pressure, the final ball constantly lacked. Time was running out and Cruttwell’s effort flashed wide of Mansfield’s left hand post, for the referee to bring the game to a close.

Burgess Hill claim an important win, as they gain revenge on a United side for not being beaten this season, despite the Hillians being two goals to the good last time. United make another early exit from the cup and are now aiming for promotion with Terry White.

United starting XI: Pelling, Darby, Cruttwell, Olorunda, Dolan, Kelly, Vickers, Ellis, Camara, Pogue, Adams.
Subs: Woodley, Corrigan, Gilbert, Shelton and Lee.

Burgess Hill starting XI: Mansfield, Slaughter, Fisk, Kirkwood, Denyer, Curd, Harding, Pointing, Miller, Keehan, Luer.
Subs: Gayler, Perry, Armstrong, Watt and Kay.

Man of the Match, as nominated by Liam Willis: Sean Kelly
Attendance: 172

Liam Willis is also Hastings United Programme Co-Editor

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Posted 10:51 Thursday, Jan 30, 2014 In: Sport

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