Broadbridge Heath 3-1 Littlehampton Town
Heath putting on the style
The Bears started well and could have taken the league in the 3rd minute when Tim Martin received the ball six yards out with his back to goal but under pressure the midfield player turned quick but shot just wide of the near post. Minutes later the deadlock was broken when Darren Helsdown sprinted clear of the defence down the left flank and from the edge of the penalty area unleashed an unstoppable shot that crashed against the underside of the crossbar and into the net.
Further chances came Heaths way and Martin was unlucky when he rifled a George Cousins right wing cross goal wards but was denied by a brilliant save from Littlehampton keeper Luke Hutchings. On 15 minutes another chance came Martin’s way this time from a Helsdown left wing cross into the strikers path but his first time effort skimmed Hutchings right hand post.
The visitors first chance came midway through the half when Dan Kempson received the ball on the right and ran across the Heath back four before striking a left foot shot across the face of goal and just wide of Conor Evento’s left hand post but it was Heath who finished the half stronger with Helsdown hitting a left foot shot just over the crossbar and Alex Parsons being denied with a deflected effort just wide of target.
Heath started the second half in similar fashion to the first with Martin twice going close but being denied the first time by Hutchings rushing off his goal-line to block and then putting a shot inches wide of the post.
The visitors equalised on 66 minutes during their best spell of the game when right back Andre Eckana, who was having his best match since joining the Bears, mis-timed a challenge allowing the visitors to exploit the space down the left flank and Jack Cole advanced on goal before hitting a left foot shot past Evento and in at the far post; disappointing for Heath who should by now have been out of sight but instead of spurring the Marigolds on it was Heath who raised their game.
George Cousins came close to restoring Heaths lead when he hit a shot with the outside of his right foot that went just wide of the post, Eckana had a shot blocked and the rebound came out to Parsons whose follow up was deflected wide but in the 81st minute the goal finally came and it was worth waiting for, Martin advanced towards the goal and played a 1:2 with Cousins on the edge of the box, slipped past a defender and placed his shot wide of Hutchings into the net. Two soon became three when a minute later another goal to remember when Cousins ran at speed at the heart of the Littlehampton defence, dribbled the ball around three defenders in the space of a yard, then around the goalkeeper before putting into an empty net.
So in the end a convincing win for the Bears, even more amazing considering they were missing a host of regular first team players.
Team: Evento, Eckana, Robinson, S.Chester, Flack, Howard-Bold, Sandell, Parsons, Martin, Cousins, Helsdown.