Haywards Heath Town 5-1 Broadbridge Heath
The Blues extend their lead at the top of the division.
On a bitterly cold evening at Hanbury Stadium Broadbridge Heath took on league leaders Haywards Heath, who were looking to extend their lead at the top to six points.
Haywards Heath drew first blood in the 3rd minute, George Hayward finishing a good move down the right after being put in by Callum Saunders.
Heath struck back almost immediately, Scott Weller rifling a shot just past Simon Lehkyj’s left hand post. However, it wasn’t long before Broadbridge Heath were level, Javlon Campbell feeding Devon Fender down the right, the latters’ cross turned out by Tom Graves for a corner. The resulting kick, taken by Tom Bold, to the far post found Campell and he had the simplest of tasks to tap in from 6 yards.
Haywards Heath responded well and Michael Chester had to make a great save to his left to deny Haywards Heaths top scorer Trevor McCreadie.
Nine minutes later and Haywards Heath were back in front after McCreadies effort hit the post, before being kept out by Chester, only for the ball to fall to Jamie Weston who made no mistake from close range.
Broadbridge Heath started to take the game to Haywards Heath and were unlucky, on several occasions, not to draw level. Tim Martin advanced down the right, but his cross was again put out by Graves for a corner. Another Bold cross, resulting in Weller shooting with his left foot, only for it to come back to him onto his right, this time shooting wide.
Broadbridge Heaths best chance came when Lehkyj completely fumbled a fairly easy take, dropping the ball in the 6 yard box, a defender reacting the quickest to clear the danger.
A Bold free kick, from 25 yards out, goes straight into Lehkyj’s arms.
In the closing minutes of the half crosses from both Martin and Jamie Robinson caused the Haywards Heath defenders problems, but managing to clear both to safety.
Haywards Heath held onto the lead until half time, despite pressure from Broadbridge Heath.
Weller failed to appear for the second half due to a foot injury, George Cousins replacing him.
Haywards Heath had a penalty appeal turned down after 5 minutes when the ball was hit from close range at Shaun Findlay onto his left arm - referee Greig Walker waving away their claims.
Two minutes later Haywards Heath did extend their lead. Close control from Weston saw him advance into the Broadbridge Heath box pulling the ball back for Karly Akehurst who sidefooted past Chester from 12 yards.
Fender then fed Robinson down the left, the full-back cutting in before hitting a right footed shot just over the bar. The same player then returning the favour from the left, this time Fender heading wide of the right hand post.
Martyn Flack picked up his fifth booking of the season on 74 minutes, resulting in him missing the trip to Saltdean in the Sussex Senior Cup.
With 15 minutes remaining Fender was replaced by Tom Frankland and 3 minutes later Campbell was replaced by Jake Holmes, returning after an absence of 8 months.
In the 84th minute some great work from Alfie Rogers saw him bundled over by Robinson, referee Walker pointing to the spot. McCreadie making no mistake for his first of the game.
With 2 minutes remaining McCreadie wrapped up the scoring, with his second of the game, latching onto Akehursts header to score from inside the six yard box.
Broadbridge Heath can feel a little aggrieved at the scoreline, their performance not warranting a four goal deficit.
The Bears travel to Newhaven on Saturday - KO 3pm at The Trafalgar Ground.