The Nicky Shorey era continued in fine style with a 1-0 win away at bottom of the league, Burgess Hill Town. The visitors were on top for much of the first half but had to dig in after going ahead early in the second half. Reece Beckles-Richards’ smart finish was the difference between the sides in the end.
The hosts should’ve been ahead after four minutes, but David Castanho couldn’t place his effort either side of Shane Gore after being left unmarked on the edge of the six yard box.
Gore was needed again six minutes later, saving well low down from Gary Charman. The visitors’ first chance came courtesy of Rob Laney, who arrived at the back post to meet a David Manu cross, but headed just wide. Another great cross from Manu ten minutes later was met by Tim Monsheju, who headed over.
Manu had an effort himself on 20 minutes, after a smart through ball from Scott Shulton but his powerful shot was well saved by Josh James.
The closest either side came in the first half was when Beckles-Richards struck the post with an effort from the edge of the box and Laney could only fire the ball straight at James on the rebound.
The second half saw an injured Manu replaced by Saturday’s hero, Marc Charles-Smith - and the substitute made an instant impact. He chased down James’ kick, diverting the ball towards Beckles-Richards, who steered home an effort first time from the edge of the box - notching his first league goal of the campaign.
Charles-Smith had his second goal in as many games, but saw his glancing header ruled out for offside, in what seemed a tight call. A flowing Blues move nearly saw Shulton break his duck for the season but his effort was blocked after a smart Charles-Smith flick found the midfielder’s darting run.
Tom Cadman put two free kicks into the stands for the hosts before they threw the kitchen sink at Gore’s goal, but it was to no avail as Shorey’s side kept the door closed. Two wins, two goals, two clean sheets and six points leave the Blues just four points off a play-off spot.
Report by Nikhil Saglani