Heath fight back to gain a point
Photos by Ray Turner
League newcomers Chatham Town visited Mid-Sussex to take on Haywards Heath at Hanbury Park, off the back of their recent 1-0 win against Corinthian. Chatham had made a good start to life in the Isthmian South East and sat in 6th position before kick off. The Heath came into the game looking to bounce back after their 2-0 defeat to Sittingbourne, but would be without reliable defender Dean Gunner for the game due to suspension, Martin Dynan made two changes to his starting eleven, Olumide Oluwatimilehin and Tom Cadman coming into the side, replacing Gunner and James Dickson.
Chatham started the game strongly and the home side couldn’t deal with their intensity and speed. Within ten minutes Matt Bodkin drove infield past a couple of static defenders and smashed an unstoppable shot into the top corner of Billy Collings’ net, sending the travelling fans into noisy celebration.
Shortly after, Chatham would have another fantastic chance, Ike Orji playing Emmanuel Oloyede in behind, and with a tight angle to shoot from, he let fly but his shot crashed against the post and thankfully to the feet of Oluwatimilehin. Heath were unable to find their feet and Chatham continued to pile forwards, a silky side-footed through ball resulted in chaos in the Heath box and after the ball past through the legs of the defender it would be Dan Bradshaw to get the final touch slotting it into the net.
After a poor show from the home side in the first half, it should be expected that Martin Dynan had a lot to say to his side at the break. Whatever was said at the interval obviously worked and the spectators in the ground were treated to the classic football cliché of “a game of two halves.” Heath were much the stronger side in the second period and in the 70th minute their pressure paid off and they would pull one back. Alex Laing picking up the ball from deep, beating his marker, and playing an inch-perfect curved low ball splitting the Chatham backline, it found the intelligent run of Tom Collins who tucked it past Ben Bridle-Card with his left foot.
Martin Dynan would shuffle the pack following the goal, this time allowing Nabeel Ghannam to run at the tiring Chatham defence, Oluwatimilehin making way for him. It would only take four minutes before the faith in him was repaid, Tom Cadman out wide pulling a dangerous ball into the box, the Chatham defender didn’t get enough power on the turn and allowed Tom Collins to hold the ball before setting it for Ghannam to rifle it into the roof of the net, a fantastic equaliser and a first goal for the Blues.
Despite the ten minutes left to play neither team could make a chance count, a point which will be savoured as a hard-fought comeback by the Blues, in truth they could easily have won it in a dominant second half. The Heath squad made their appreciation for the support known; the result would take the Blues up to 10th in the table as things stood.
Player of the Match: Alex Laing