Broadbridge Heath 2-0 Chichester City
A Fender bender past Ender earns Heath narrow victory against promotion hopefuls.
Heath made an excellent start to the new Premier Division season with a 2-0 home win over a very good Chichester City side that finished 3rd in the league last season and who have high hopes of doing even better this time round.
The visitors, who included former Fulham player Duncan Jupp in their lineup, started well putting the Bears under pressure but on the counter-attack Tim Martin came close to giving his team the lead when he broke through the defence but drilled a shot straight at goalkeeper Anthony Ender.
At the other end Heaths keeper Michael Chester was kept busy stopping shots from Josh Clack and Scott Jones and Martin came close to breaking the deadlock on 17 minutes when he headed a Dean Wright cross over the bar and minutes later debutant Devon Fender dribbled the ball past two players before he unleashed a right foot shot from distance that flew narrowly over.
The opening goal was scored on 27 minutes and it was a cracker, Scott Jones goal attempt was intercepted by Marlon Maxwell in his own penalty area and he played it wide right to Martin who skipped past two players on the half-way line, continued his run into the penalty area before chipping the ball to the far post where Dean Wright bundled it into the back of the net.
Ender was then forced to make a finger tip save to deny Tom Bold from scoring direct from a free kick just outside the penalty area and in the dying minutes of the half Chester prevented Jones equalizing by deflecting the ball just wide of the post with his right boot.
City again came out strong and Clack was unlucky with an effort that deflected off Bold onto the post and Heath felt they should have had a penalty when Wright was upended in the area, the linesman immediately flagged for a penalty but the match referee overruled his colleague much to the annoyance of the Heath management, players and supporters with Martin and Shaun Findlay both picking up cautions as a result.
The visitors then had their best spell of the match searching for the equaliser but in doing so they left gaps at the back and were punished when Martin received the ball wide on the left and immediately played a diagonal pass into the path of Fender who sprinted clear of the defence and calmly placed his shot wide of the advancing Ender to score on his debut and double the lead.
Dave Herbert had a great chance to reduce the deficit in the dying minutes but placed his header straight into the arms of a thankful Chester when a foot either side would surely have counted.
So a great day for the Bears who are also please that Piers McDermott has returned to the club having spent pre-season playing with Worthing Town, the midfielder will go straight into the squad for the match at Worthing United on Tuesday.
Team: M Chester, Findlay, Robinson, Attwater, Maxwell (Sim 80), Bold, Weller (Copestake 80), Parson, Martin, Fender, Wright (McNab 72).