Heath come from behind to beat Hythe
Photos by Ray Turner
The Blues returned to Hanbury Park off the back of their 4-0 defeat away at Ashford United with a point to prove as they took on Hythe Town. Martin Dynan made two changes to his starting eleven, Franzen-Jones missed the match and Ben Holden dropped to the bench with Dean Gunner and Ibrahim Jalloh coming into the side. New signing Leon Moore featuring on the bench.
The Heath have been susceptible to conceding in the early stages so far this season, and frustratingly this game followed the same pattern. Hythe’s Ethan Smith pulled a dangerous ball across goal, Tom Cadman was unable to clear it away and Johan Caney-Bryan was able to pounce, making no mistake as he fired it into the roof of the net in the third minute of the match.
The Heath would then be forced into an early change as Tom Cadman was unable to continue with a knee injury, Ben Holden came on in his place just before the half-hour mark.
Nabeel Ghannam was his usual energetic self and he created the home side’s best chance of the first half, with a quick turn and hit forcing Steve Phillips into making a superb diving save in the Hythe goal.
The half-time whistle brought a bleak half for the Heath to a close, with a major improvement needed for them to get back into the game.
The teams re-emerged for another 45 minutes, and it would be the Heath that started quickly this time, Alex Laing spinning his man inside the box, slipping the ball through his legs before being knocked to the floor, the referee with no hesitation to point to the spot.
Penalty kicks have not been a source of great success for the Blues so far this season, with the only kicks scored being in a shoot out. Tom Collins was the man to take responsibility and he hit it with venom to the keeper’s left, and despite Phillips getting a hand to it, he couldn’t keep it out as Collins’ kick nestled in the corner, the Heath fans enthusiastically celebrating their equaliser.
It took just under a quarter of an hour before Heath found their second, Alex Laing and Nabeel Ghannam combining from a free kick routine straight off the training ground, the one-two allowing Laing to pull the ball into the box, Collins’ touch came off the Hythe defender and fell into the path of Ben Holden who’s left foot strike hit the post. Tom Collins was the man again in the right place at the right time to tap in and send Heath fans into bedlam.
Injuries and fatigue were starting to take their toll so the management team took a pragmatic view to game management with Leon Moore making his first appearance for the Club, and Danny Divine also entering the fray as Ghannam and double scorer Collins left the pitch.
Hythe applied pressure in the dying stages of the match, free-kicks and crosses flying into the box, but the Heath dug in and held their ground. The referee’s final whistle was like music to the ears of the Blues management, players and fans alike. The Heath put an end to their 4-game-winless run, and secured a vital three points in their mission to climb the Isthmian South-East Division.