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Match Report 6 Sept 2008 - Haywards Heath Town 2 Broadbridge Heath 0
The blazing sunshine of last week's game against Dorking was well and truly forgotten as Heath continued their good form in the more traditional English football weather of heavy showers. The rain didn't hinder Heath as they collected three more points with another good all round display.
Following an early morning pitch inspection that pronounced the pitch playable Heath were keen to build on last weeks positive display and from the first whistle they were on their game. The first ten minutes was relatively quiet as both teams sought to find their feet on the wet surface but after ten minutes Heath burst into life when Daley Clarke, who is buzzing at the moment, took on the Broadbridge defense on the left hand side of the pitch. He cut in towards the box, beating two men in the process, but the third defender took the more direct route and scythed him down just outside the box. The free kick was nodded out to the edge of the box where Simon McMenemy was loitering and he fired in a fierce shot that the keeper couldn't hold and Lee Skinner nearly got to the rebound first. It was Skinner who had the next chance when he left defenders trailed as he sped towards goal and as he shaped to shoot he was tackled so Heath had a corner. This produced a save from the Broadbridge keeper as Matt Kelly rose highest to head towards goal. The ball was knocked out to Mark Beard whose measured cross was met superbly by Olly Day but the keeper at full stretch managed to turn the shot away.
The crowd were delighted both with the fare being delivered on the pitch and that available from the new Hanbury Stadium kitchen that had been opened before the game and was doing a brisk trade. They sensed Heath were on top and after 20 minutes another well timed run from Skinner outstripped the defenders down the left and from his well placed pull back, Mark Beard arrived on cue to smash the ball into the net from 10 yards making sure he kept it out of the sandy boggy area on the six yard line. It was Beards first goal for the Heath and one that in fairness he has been threatening all season; lets hope it is the first of many! From the kick off Heath again attacked and the keeper made another great save to keep out Skinners effort that came from Clarkes perceptive lay off. Although Blues were on top Broadbridge hit back with a left foot volley from the edge of the box that whistled just over the bar. Heath didn't take heed of this warning and a couple of minutes later they had Chris Turner to thank, not for the first time this season, as he pulled off a fabulous save when he changed direction in mid air to push a close range shot round the post to thwart Broadbridge who were coming into the game for the first time. From their next attack they beat the Heath offside trap and only a great tackle from Johnny White foiled them. Rob Cooper, who has made a difference since his arrival at Heath, then set off on one of his trademark twisty dribbles that was only stopped by the last Broadbridge defender as he set to shoot and then Daley Clarke released his strike partner Lee Skinner with a glorious through ball, he outpaced the defenders, drew the keeper and slotted the ball past him – and it rolled just past the post and out for a goal kick when it should really have been Heath's second goal. There was just time for Chris Turner to make another great save when he dived, and even in the tricky conditions he held onto the ball after the Broadbridge striker had fashioned a half chance for himself, before the half time whistle blew with Heath still a goal to the good.
The second half started and Heath continued attacking as Matt Kelly again rose to head a corner narrowly over, and then Skinner was pushed wide by the last defender after another positive direct run, and the chance came to nothing. Heath then produced one of the best moves of the match when Cooper got the ball on the left side of the pitch, just in his own half, he moved forward and played a neat one two with Beard, beat a defender and laid it back to Beard, who nudged it first time to Skinner, he held the ball up, drew the defender and then rolled the ball to his left, just outside the box, where the arriving Ant Humphries, who was having his best game of the season, smashed a shot just over. Just after that the rain briefly cleared and a replica Spitfire flew over the ground, whilst on the pitch Simon McMenemy hit a free kick over the bar from the right hand edge of the box.
Broadbridge then had their best chance of the game, as their left midfielder outstripped the Heath defenders, and got a cross in that went across goal towards his unmarked strike partner, he shaped to knock the ball into the empty net when the ball hit a mound of sand and bounced over his outstretched foot and away to safety as the crowd breathed a sign of relief. There was then a nasty foot up challenge from McMenemy which prompted a reaction from his Broadbridge victim and they could easily have both been sent off, but eventually the referee calmed the situation down and booked both players.
Heath continued to threaten with Cooper making another run and his cross was just taken off the foot of Humphries who had made a great supporting run as he was about to strike for goal. With only the one goal to show for their efforts Heath still had to be aware of the Broadbridge threat, and again Chris Turner showed his ability with another great save and clean catch of the ball when a shot came in from the edge of the box. Heath upped their game in response and with 20 minutes left, a through ball played in Ant Humphries down the right hand flank and he did well to keep the ball in play and then made ground down the touchline. He looked up and played the ball into Beard just outside the box. He played a neat ball into Daley Clarke and went for the return, however Clarke whose confidence is understandably high at the moment, controlled and turned before slotting the ball across the keeper and into the far corner of the Broadbridge net to cap a good move with a very good finish. There was still time for Chris Turner to make another great save to preserve the clean sheet, and the game ended two nil to Heath, who bank another 3 points. The next game for Heath is home at Hanbury on Saturday 13th against Newhaven with a 3.00pm kick off.
Turner, White, Wright, Kelly, McMenemy, Humphries, Day, Beard, Cooper, Skinner, Clarke
Man of the Match