Since their return to the top division Saltdean United have certainly had the better over Steve Painters Broadbridge Heath, seven times the teams have played each other and Heath have suffered seven defeats and on Saturday The Bears were missing skipper Tom Howard-Bold, Josh Tuck, Max Howell, Renato Carvalho and Fraser Trigwell so expectations prior to the match were not too high.
Painter gave a starting debut to Under 18 player Cameron Watts who’s put in some good performances in recent weeks and the youngster certainly didn’t let his manager down with an assist for the first goal after only 12 minutes play.
Alfie Jones started the move playing a ball down the left flank to Watts who turned a defender inside-out before picking out Jamie Taylor 14 yards from goal and the Heath striker struck a perfect right foot curler into the top corner of the net out of reach of the Saltdean goalkeeper Tyler D’Cruz.
Heath continued to push forward in search of a second and George Cousins was unlucky with a low right foot shot that the Saltdean keeper did brilliantly to deflect inches wide of the post and Watts was close again with a shot just wide after good work by Taylor.
In between Saltdean’s Ross Smith should have equalised for his side but placed his effort from a right wing cross wide with the goal at his mercy and it remained 1-0 at the break.
Heath continued the second period as they had the first and Andy Waddingham was first with a goal attempt but his effort flew high over the crossbar and D’Cruz was in action again diving low to his right to deny Cousins.
On 60 minutes the home team were reduced to 10 players when Danny Turner was shown a straight red for a late challenge on Carney but instead of taking advantage of the extra man it was the home-side who started to play with more style and panache and they drew level in the 70th minute when much travelled Alex Laing headed in a left wing cross from close range.
Laing almost made it two in the final minutes as a fiercely struck shot was parried by Evento, the ball came out to substitute Max Bickell who was denied by Evento throwing himself in to block the shot.
After the match Painter was left disappointed with his team not taking advantage of the extra man and going on to win. He felt his team were the better side until Turner was sent off but instead of taking control of the game they stopped playing through midfield and started playing too many long balls up to Jamie Taylor and that just played into the hands of Saltdean.
Next up is home to Alfold on Tuesday evening at the Countryside Stadium, Kick Off: 7.45.
Team: Evento, Flack, Robinson, Maxwell, Jones, Carney, Waddingham, Watts (Hull 79), Cousins, Taylor (Whiteley 87), Weller. Unused: Godfrey,