Ayres header and Rio double give Heys first win of the season
Heys secured their first points of the season with a thrilling 3-1 win over Ashton Town at Adie Moran Park.
After defeats in their opening two matches this was a much-needed victory for Jon Lyons team and the Heys Manager, after a difficult week, will have been more than satisfied with his team’s performance.
This was more like the Heys we know, playing at pace, hardworking and individually displaying the talent which appeared to have eluded them in the opening games.
It was important that they did, as Ashton arrived as League Leaders with wins in both of their opening games and eight goals scored. It was easy to see why, full of pace and vigour and a real threat in attack, they looked a side very much that will be challenging for honours.
Heys made a lively start with debutant striker Jamie Sinnott linking well with Will Shawcross to create an opening for James Wolfenden whose shot flew wide.
Rio Wilson-Heyes was also prominent, first going on an incisive run creating an opening for Sinnott who shot over and then crossing for Shawcross who headed just over.
Ashton though were not without threat themselves, In the 20th minute some slick passing saw the ball worked across edge of the penalty area before Bradley Smart unleashed a shot that was superbly tipped round the post by Russell Saunders.
Two minutes later the visitors took the lead. There was an element of fortune about the goal, in that it was wind assisted, but the delivery from the corner kick, whipped in just under the bar by Jay Thomas was also key, as the ball flew beyond the reach of Saunders.
It was harsh on Heys, but they responded well and three minutes later they levelled. From a corner, Danny White whipped the ball in, and Mark Ayres rose magnificently to power home a header.
Heys confidence was lifted Danny White went close with a low shot before Shawcross delivered an audacious 25-yard chip that landed on top of net.
With the rain lashing down, Heys pressure told in the 41st minute. Some great work near the corner flag by Sinnott drew two defenders but a deft back heel found Jacob Holt, whose low cross skidded across the face of goal to the unmarked Wilson-Heyes to slot home.
The lead almost proved short lived. On the stroke of half time Ashton opened the Heys defence with some slick play that saw the dangerous Dylan Glass denied twice by a double save by Saunders before the ball fell into the path of Jesse Dowling. It seemed he must score, but from nowhere Ayres appeared to clear off the line.
With the wind behind them Heys look to capitalise on the restart. Danny White broke into the box, but his chip shot cleared the bar.
In the 50th minute, Ashton were reduced to ten men as John Edgerton saw red for a poor challenge on Sinnott that gave the referee no choice.
Looking to push home their advantage Heys pressed forward, Adrian Bellamy headed over from a White free kick before on the hour the lead was increased in superb fashion.
Wilson-Heyes, looking back to his best, left the full back for dead before breaking into the box and rifling a shot into the far corner.
Ashton were not done though. Their slick passing, illustrating why free scoring start to the season.
In Dylan Glass they have a striker of real quality and he will wonder how he did not score in the 68th minute. Picked out by a Christopher Hill cross, his close-range header seemed set for the net but Saunders instinctively, lifted a shoulder and it proved enough to divert the ball to safety.
Committed to attack, the visitors were open to the counter and Heys might well have increased their lead. Sinnott, whose blackened socks and shorts were illustrative of his ceaseless endeavor, saw a shot from 25 yards hit the bar before his replacement Shelton Payne cut into the box only for his strike to come off the post.
Despite their lead, Heys could not rest, Ashton finished strongly, and it took some spirited defence to keep them at bay.
This defeat for the visitors will have done nothing to question their credentials, for Heys it was a much-needed boost for theirs. On this showing reports of their demise appear unfounded.