BEARS BRING HOME WELL DESERVED POINTS
For the second time in a week Heath came from behind to gain a good result. Unlike the Crawley Down game where they somehow missed out on all three points, Steve Painter’s men made no mistake and gained their first victory at the Lashmar for some years.
Conor Evento again deputised for the injured Kieron Thorp. Dean Wright returned in place of Devon Fender who was carrying a knock and started on the bench where he was joined by new signings, Michael Dale and Mason Doughty both former Heath youth team players. Mason who has joined from Three Bridges where he had played for their Bostik league side this season.
Heath scored in the first minute in the home match against East Preston and they very nearly did it again when almost directly from the kick off a Martyn Flack cross narrowly evaded the onrushing Jamie Taylor and George Cousins’ effort was just wide. Next Taylor got on the end of another Flack cross and Bentley in the home goal had to turn his effort for a corner. Another cross reached Taylor, this time beyond the far post, and his thunderous volley was brilliantly saved by Bentley.
The home side’s main threat was from set pieces and Bradley Peters and Ryan Brackpool made a series of important headers to clear their lines and Jamie Robinson had to keep a close watch on the pacey Lucas Pattenden. However, it was from the opposite flank that the hosts took the lead minutes before the break when too much time allowed Luke Brodie to cross for an unmarked Jakob Heryet to give Evento no chance from 12 yards.
Again Painter demanded a positive response to falling behind when on chances alone the Bears should have been ahead and with the wind behind them, kicking down a slight slope, they pushed East Preston back. However, although playing most of the game in their own half, East Preston were coping with Heath attacks fairly comfortably. Then on 64 minutes Lee Carney picked out Taylor’s run between the centre backs and the front man lobbed the ball over Bentley for his fifth goal in seven games since re-joining the Bears.
The equaliser was the signal for Painter to bring on fresh legs in the wide positions with Fender replacing Wright and Doughty making his debut for Cousins. Both substitutes made an immediate effect running at the opposition and Bentley had to save from Doughty after he wriggled through the defence and Andy Waddingham had three efforts on goal in the space of 5 minutes one going over, one into the side netting and the other saved by Bentley.
With 15 minutes remaining the ball was crossed into the penalty area where Martyn Flack stooped low to head home home his third goal of the season.
As the game entered the closing stages the home side with nothing to lose threw players forward and caused a few anxious moments with balls into the box one of which ended with Etherington’s flick coming back off the post. But with Evento dealing with one cross in instalments and then stretching to take a great catch in a crowded box, Heath saw out the game and returned home with a well deserved 3 points.
Heath, AFC Uckfield and Lingfield are sitting on 49 points just 3 points behind Saltdean in fifth as it looks like a four way fight for the top 2 positions with Chichester still in pole position. Next week, storm Freya permitting, Heath host struggling Shoreham followed by two matches against title contenders Eastbourne Town (home) and Newhaven (away).
Broadbridge Heath : Evento, Flack, Robinson, Peters, Brackpool, Waddingham, Carney, Moore(Dale), Wright(Fender), Taylor, Cousins(Doughty). Unused sub Jorge.
Attendance : 76
Report By : Sam Chapman