Southall Shoot-out Drama Ends Heath's Trophy Campaign
Photos by Ray Turner
Tuesday night saw the Blues take the field in FA Trophy action at Hanbury Park. This game was rescheduled from Saturday due to the pause in football to respect the passing of HRH Elizabeth II.
Manager Martin Dynan named a slightly changed side with combative centre back Tom Gilbert returning from injury for his first start of the season and new signing Danny Divine coming in for an immediate debut. Nabeel Ghannam was named on the bench for the first time this season.
Heath lined up in a changed formation from previous weeks with Gilbert, Holden and Divine making a back three and Tom Cadman and Ibrahim Jalloh providing width as wing backs. The changed formation afforded time and space on the ball for Laing and Chesworth to work between the lines of the Southall defence and a strong start for the Blues saw us take the game to them in the opening
exchanges. Several sweeping passing moves from the Heath saw us put more and more pressure on the Southall goal and a sweet strike from Callum Chesworth nearly opened the scoring in the 7th minute, his drive from the edge of the box going narrowly wide.
Chesworth was involved in a moment of controversy soon after as his strong run from midfield was stopped by a lunging tackle from the last Southall defender, the referee decided that there had been no contact and cautioned Callum for simulation, an odd decision given Chesworth was in a shooting position and had little to gain from a dive.
Southall’s keeper was forced into a fine save from a fiercely taken 25yd free kick from Alex Laing which was narrowing towards the top corner. The half-chances kept coming as Heath grew in confidence, but no gilt-edged opportunity could be created. Heath began to grow frustrated as they were unable to turn their domination of possession into goals and this gave Southall the opportunity to create a couple of chances before the break, Billy Collings with a fantastic reaction save just before half-time.
The second period saw a similar pattern to play, with the Blues on top but searching for the clear chance to open the scoring. Tom Collins came close with a clever regain of the ball in a dangerous area but his improvised finish with the outside of his foot finished inches wide. Both sides had chances to win the game but solid defending coupled with reliable goalkeeping kept the strike forces of both sides at bay.
There was still time for a final moment of controversy in normal time when an off-the-ball scuffle led to players from both sides kicking out at each other, the assistant referee deciding that Tom Cadman had been the aggressor leading to a straight red card for the Heath defender.
As the final minutes were played out, the fans in the ground prepared themselves for the drama of penalties.
In the penalty shootout Heath took an early advantage before a run of 3 misses in a row gave Southall the chance to progress, further heroics from Billy Collings ensured that both sides scored
only 2 of their first 5 penalties and the tie progressed to sudden death. After 10 players from each side had taken kicks, and with the scores still tied it was left for the first players to step up again.
Unfortunately, the Town penalty was saved leaving Southall’s successful kick to send them into the next round. 7-8 the final penalty tally.
Man of the Match: Alex Laing