Loxwood 1-1 Broadbridge Heath
All square for Bears and Magpies so off to the bar for a beer!
The trip to play local rivals Loxwood proved quite a feisty affair with both sets of players endeavouring to do their best for their team egged on by their partisan supporters.
The first talking point of the game came after only 3 minutes play when Jake Holmes went down in the penalty area following a challenge by Josh Courtney, the match referee immediately pointed to the spot and Holmes picked himself up placed the ball on the spot but then blasted his effort wide of the right hand post much to the pleasure of the parliament of Magpies standing behind the goal.
Heath continued to have the upper-hand and opened up the Loxwood defence again on 13 minutes when Holmes beat the offside trap but Sam Smith was off his line like a whippet to push the strikers effort wide of goal but Holmes reacted quickly to chase down the rebound and fire off a shot from the angle which went across the face of goal and out to safety.
A minute later Heath debutante Gicu Iordache dribbled his way into the Loxwood penalty area and was about to shoot when he was upended but whereas the first penalty was a very soft call there was no doubt in this instance but surprisingly the referee ignored the appeals and waved play-on, maybe trying to even things up?
Gradually the home-side got into the game with former Heath player Michael Wood having the first pot at goal from distance which went wide of Chester’s right post and Byron Napper trying his luck with another effort wide of the mark.
Midway through the half Heath had yet another good penalty shout waved away when Tom Bold played the ball inside the box and was then clattered by a defender but again the referee ignored the appeals and the ball came out to Tom Frankland wide on the right and the defender took it to the goal-line and picked out Tim Martin whose first time effort from six yards was saved by Smith at the near-post
Loxwood finished the half strongly with Dean Wright shooting narrowly wide from 12 yards and Naim Rouane attempting his luck with a shot from distance but again off target and it remained 0-0 at the break.
Heath again started on the ascendancy, an early corner was played out to Iordache who shot narrowly over the crossbar and minute’s later Heaths newest recruit drove a left foot shot inches wide of the post. George Cousins went close for Heath with another effort that flew across the goal missing the far post by a whisker but midway through the half Heath skipper Tom Bold was cautioned for questioning a referee’s decision and that would prove costly when Bold picked up a second yellow 15 minutes from time for a late challenge on Wright and Heath were down to 10-men.
The Magpies took full advantage of the extra man and looked far more threatening, Joe Holvey had their first shot at goal of the half in the 77th minute when he forced his way into the penalty area but dragged his shot wide of Chester’s right post but the pressure told two minutes later when Wright got down the left flank and drilled the ball across the face of goal where Holvey forced it over the line from 4 yards.
That goal looked to be enough to win the game but on the counter-attack in the 86th minute Heath’s Shaun Findlay scampered down the left flank leaving players in his wake before he crossed the ball to an unmarked Tim Martin coming in from the right and the Heath midfield player swiveled and shot first time with the ball looping over Smith and in off the far post.
There was still time for either side to snatch victory, Iordache came close for the Bears with a shot blocked by Loxwood’s Eddie French and deep into time added on a stunning save by Michael Chester diving full length to push Dan Mobsby's goalbound effort over the crossbar to earn his team a well deserved point.
No game for Heath next Saturday, their next match is at Arundel on the 20th January.
Team: M.Chester, Frankland, Robinson, Findlay, Flack, Bold, Weller, Martin, Holmes (Clark 87), Iordache, Cousins (Sim 76).