It was heartbreak for Horsham and joy for Burgess Hill Town as the Hillians’ Greg Luer struck a dramatic 94th minute winning goal to settle a poor game.
Burgess Hill had the better of the match but their chance to take three points seemed to have gone when Lee Denyer was shown a straight red card with ten minutes to play.
But in the last minute of injury time, Tom Graves misjudged a long ball and Luer, the most exciting player on the night, raced in behind the Hornets’ defence and slotted past Mark Zawadski.
Horsham will have been frustrated not to build on two strong outings of late - but with ten players starting their third game in five days, it was a tired performance.
The Hillians were not at their best but were on top for much of the night, and the win comes as welcome relief after a three-match losing streak.
The home side started the better, playing with a fast tempo and pressurising Horsham with a number of threatening corners.
The first chance fell to the lively Scott Kirkwood, but his diving header didn’t trouble the Horsham goal.
Burgess Hill looked at their best with the ball at the feet of Luer - the fleet-footed winger channelling his inner Zidane with an outstanding turn that took him away from Junior Kaffo and Billy-Joe King.
For all their strong midfield play, the Hillians looked a little blunt in the final third with top scorer and ex-Hornet Pat Harding missing out.
Kirkwood drove a shot wide and Luer popped up on the opposite flank to fire a shot over towards the end of a cagey first half.
To their credit, Horsham emerged from the break with renewed desire.
Byron Napper beat a man and went down in the box but penalty appeals were waved away by the referee, and Kaffo flicked a header off target from a long Lewis Hamilton throw.
The second half was a more even contest, with the influential Luer visibly tiring for the hosts, but Burgess Hill sprang into life in the 78th minute.
Kirkwood clipped a shot over Zawadski which was cleared by Graves, and Joe Keehan and Curtis Gayler exchanged neat passes, resulting in the former bringing out the best of the Horsham keeper.
Denyer’s sending off two minutes later looked to be the game’s crucial moment. The defender tussled with Horsham’s Jamie Cade - throwing the striker to the ground - resulting in a melee and a slightly harsh dismissal.
It appeared that the late siege expected on the Horsham goal would leave with Denyer, but with ten men the hosts were still the better side.
Even so, Luer’s late, late winner was harsh on the Hornets, who it seemed would be leaving with a point.
Burgess Hill: Mansfield, Watts, Fisk, Slaughter, Denyer, Tuck (Gayler 58), Luer, Kirkwood (Pointing 80), Curd, Keehan, Kay (Miller 63).
Horsham: Zawadski, Hamilton, B. King, Harris, J. King, Graves, Napper, Morley, Kaffo (Fobi-Edusei 88), Cade, Nwachukwu (Marriott 80).