Opening Day Defeat for Heath
Haywards Heath Town took the trip to South-East London on a scorching Saturday afternoon to face VCD Athletic in the opening fixture in the Isthmian South-East division. The game began with a 4th minute booking to Blues defender Ben Holden, forced to challenge under pressure.
VCD were the more dominant side early on with the Heath taking time to get into rhythm. Heath’s best chance of the half came through Tom Collins, played in by a great Alex Laing pass, who initially had intercepted a rogue long ball by the Vickers keeper. Collins’ shot was high and the chance went begging. Blues winger Ibrahim Jalloh also had a few shots which couldn’t trouble the goalkeeper. Three minutes into added time the Vickers were able to break the deadlock, as Billy Collings saved from close range but VCD’s Anthony Adesite made no mistake when given the rebound in the six-yard box.
The second half began and just four minutes later Heath found their equaliser through Jalloh – a route one goal-kick by Collings flew over the defence with Jalloh the fastest to the ball to finish past the keeper’s right-hand side. The game began to even out, a mix of possession with VCD playing with the ball in their half, and the Blues looking for mistakes. Heath brought on new signings Jeffrey Njuguna and Melford Simpson after an hour but within minutes VCD took the lead again through Daniel Phillips who rifled in a cut-back pass by Youssef Bamba.
Another debutant, Callum Chesworth replaced Alex Laing minutes from time to add fresh legs for the Heath. Things got worse, though, when already-cautioned Holden mistimed his slide tackle inside the box to give away a penalty and saw his second yellow card. The penalty was stopped by Collings giving a lifeline for Heath to salvage a point but the visitors could not make their remaining chances count.
A game which saw three goals, a saved penalty and a sending-off was certainly entertaining viewing for the 90 who showed up to watch, with neither team playing badly. But ultimately VCD Athletic took home the three points with a win on the opening day of the season. The Heath now turn their attention to their match on Tuesday, where they welcome fellow Sussex side Lancing at Hanbury Park and look to secure their first win of the season.