HOLDERS Hastings Town marched into the semi-finals of the Sussex Senior Cup after a battling 1-0 win at Burgess Hill Town.

A Danny Simmonds goal on 59 minutes was enough to settle a gruelling fourth round tie at Leylands Park.

Burgess Hill made most of the running in the opening half hour as Hastings struggled to hold the ball up in the final third of the field.

Richie Phillips let fly with a couple of long-range efforts before Ashley Carr tested Tony Kessell with a looping half-volley.

Kessell was called into action again soon after to hold onto a stinging 20-yard drive from Shaun Grice.

Home keeper Richard Walters was tested ten minutes before half time when a slick interchange of passes between Simmonds and Steve Sargent set up Stuart Playford but his header was pushed clear.

The effort seemed to lift Hastings because they dominated the remainder of the half and only a last-ditch block prevented Simmonds scoring.

Gavin Geddes went close to giving Burgess Hill the perfect start to the second half. A low cross was deflected goalwards and from the rebound Geddes turned the ball past the post.

Hastings broke the deadlock just before the hour mark when a wonderfully struck free-kick from deadball specialist Terry White smacked against the upright. The ball ran loose and Simmonds was on hand to claim the decisive touch.

Hillians almost levelled in the very next minute but Marc Cable was unlucky to see his close range effort hit the inside of the far post and bounce clear.

Phillips then went close as Burgess Hill continued to press forward.

Hastings always posed a threat on the break and Playford forced Walters into a sharp save on his six-yard box.

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