East Preston 3-0 Broadbridge Heath
Cousins sees Red as Heath lose away from home
Heath’s player availability reaches an all time high with no fewer than 12 senior players unavailable for one reason or another. A very frustrating afternoon for all having played so well in midweek against Littlehampton Town when most thought that with players now returning from holiday and injury “The Bears” would go from strength to strength.
Unfortunately things don’t always go to plan and despite having three players back, four of those who played on Tuesday were unavailable and as a result it meant travelling to East Preston with a make-shift defence and only one substitute.
The home side took full advantage of Heath’s weaknesses and took a deserved lead on 14 minutes when they advanced down the left flank, got round the Heath fullback and crossed to the far post where Jared Rance hit a right foot shot that crashed against the underside of the crossbar and into the net. Minutes later it could have been two when after a goalmouth scramble the ball came off Jamie Craven’s right hand post before being cleared.
Heath’s best chance of the half was on 30 minutes when Tim Martin got on the end of a Kieron Joseph right wing cross but the striker put his header just over the bar from six yards. Ten minutes before the break a poor challenge by George Cousins ended with the Match Referee brandishing a red card and Heath were down to ten and really up against it now.
Nine minutes into the restart the home-side made it 2-0, again poor defending saw Lucas Franzen Jones receive the ball in acres of space on the left corner of the penalty area and he looked up and curled a right-foot shot into the top right corner, a great strike but where was the marking?
Minutes later another Frazen Jones effort was cleared off the goal-line as the home-side continued to dominate play.
With 25 minutes remaining Heath manager Steve Painter changed the tactics using the only substitute he had, going to three at the back and bringing on Harry Garman as a second striker and for the first time in the game Heath began to get the upper-hand. However despite the added pressure and a spell of 5 successive corners midway through the half, The Bears failed to trouble the home keeper Chris Cook and then deep into time-added on, and against the run of play East Preston made it 3-0 with the last kick of the match when substitute Ryan Quirke hit a right foot shot from the edge of the penalty area past Craven to complete the scoring.
After the game Steve Painter said “I’ve never known anything like it (with regards to player availability) I was forced to play a rookie at fullback and I couldn’t bring Harry (substitute) on because we were down to 10 and if I used him any earlier and someone got injured I’d have been down to 9”.
He added “Shaun Findlay struggled throughout he’s got a heavy cold and could hardly breathe, Timmy Martin pulled up in the warm-up with a tight hamstring but I told him he had to play because I didn’t have anyone else”. “I could have taken some more players from the Reserves but that would have been unfair because they only had 12 themselves. Hopefully we’ll have a few back for Tuesday”.
On Tuesday evening Heath host Bexhill United v in the Sussex Senior Cup, Kick Off 7.45pm
Team: Craven, Joseph (Garman 68), Robinson, S.Chester, Flack, Howard-Bold, Findlay, Parsons, Fender, Martin, Cousins.