Heath make 10-man Littlehampton pay
Photos by Ray Turner
With the league season four games in, The Heath welcomed fellow Sussex side Littlehampton to a sunny Hanbury Park looking to improve on our slow start to the season.
Heath started the game well with midfielder James Dickson taking an early ranged effort on goal, but it had just a little too much elevation on it which saw it go narrowly over the bar. Some good movement out wide from tricky midfielder Ibrahim Jalloh was causing fullbacks Scott Packer and Dion Jarvis all kinds of trouble. The Blues were the stronger side across the first half but still relied on a couple of sharp saves from Billy Collings to keep the score level as the first half ended.
The teams re-appeared for the second half and Heath pushed hard for their opening goal in the match; Jake Lindsey who made his first competitive start on the day, played a sublime pass to Callum Chesworth but the keeper was too alert to be beaten, getting down low and making the stop.
The match officials then took centre stage, firstly ruling out a goal for the Blues, with the Assistant Referee spotting an infringement in a much earlier phase of play, before arguably the deciding moment in the game. Jake Lindsey gambled on a hesitation from the Gold’s defender, won the ball and was brought down. As the last man, the referee had little choice but to dismiss Littlehampton captain Jordan Clark to the delight of the blues fans.
A bold triple change from the Heath bench saw Nabeel Ghannam, Marc Lida Gballou, and new signing Charlie Towning enter the pitch in the 75th minute. Just three minutes later the Blues found their much-needed opener, Alex Laing hitting a sweet free-kick that rattled the crossbar with defender Dean Gunner in the right place at the right time to tap into the goal and send the home fans into celebration.
With mere seconds left on the clock, a desperate Littlehampton launched endless long balls into the box, Dean Gunner won what was hoped to be the final header, and Charlie Towning pressed aggressively to dispossess a sleeping Golds player. His inch-perfect curved pass set Alex Laing away one-on-one with the goalkeeper and he made no mistake rifling it into the net on his weaker foot, sealing the well-deserved three points.
The man-of-the-match award was a tricky decision with strong performances across the team, our first scorer Dean Gunner being awarded the prize after his top-class performance.