Heath held at Home by VCD
It was a very damp Hanbury Park that greeted Haywards Heath Town FC and VCD Athletic, as the Blues looked to avenge the 2-1 defeat they suffered at the hands of VCD back in August. That was the opening game of the season and was played in rather different conditions whilst we were in the midst of a heatwave!
The Blues had been denied a point by a stoppage-time winner at Whitehawk last time out. They would again line up 3-5-2 with a couple of changes in the starting lineup. Darryl Siaw was replaced by Ben Holden, with Siaw leaving the club to join Walton & Hersham, moving closer to home.
The other change saw new signing Mo Diallo come in for Tom Cadman, nursing a hamstring complaint. Diallo and Collins would lead the line, whilst Jalloh was tasked to deputise at left wing-back.
Both teams started the game well-organised and disciplined, with few chances to speak of. An early injury knock to Tom Gilbert saw Conrad Honore take his place, making his debut for the Heath.
It was really only in the 40th minute when the game sprung into life. Following a foul on Tom Collins on the left-hand side, a deep delivery from Alex Laing was just beyond the reach of a stretching Mo Diallo.
Heath finished the half on top, and the best opportunity of the half came from a Ben Holden long throw on the brink of half time. The ball broke to Alex Laing who volleyed into the ground from just outside the area. The ball bounced up and James Dickson rifled an overhead kick towards goal which was smartly saved by Brooks in the VCD goal.
The second half was more of an open game, and early into the half the Heath had the best chance of the game. Dickson intercepted 35 yards out and slid in Tom Collins who beat a defender and curled the ball just outside the far post from just outside the box.
VCD had chances of their own, just a minute later a long free kick evaded everyone and reached the full back at the back post who forced a save at his near post by Collings who managed to parry to safety.
Heath came back again, and in the 62nd minute a long cross-field ball by Conrad Honore bounced over the defender’s head, Jalloh took the ball on and delivered a left footed low pass to Diallo, who composed himself and had his shot deflected, taking the sting off the ball and allowing for VCD to recover and make a goal line clearance.
Heath’s pressure finally told a few minutes later as Jalloh picked the ball up on halfway, gliding between four players before being hacked down just outside the area by Joe Bath, which saw the VCD centre back enter the book.
Alex Laing stepped up and delivered a trademark free kick, hitting the postage stamp with a curling free kick into the top corner, sending the Shed End into raptures in the 66th minutes.
10 minutes later and controversy ensued. The referee deemed that Dean Gunner had fouled the VCD winger by the corner flag, even though it looked like Gunner had been pushed over. The resulting free kick was headed home by Adesite despite Laing’s best efforts on the goal line.
Both teams pushed for a winner, but it was VCD that came the closest, a deflected dipping half volley from Karl Dent well tipped over by Collings in the 83rd minute. The game ended in torrential rain, summing up the Heath’s mood as it felt like two points dropped rather than one gained after the controversy of the late equaliser.
MOTM – Alex Laing, chosen by match sponsor We Want Your Car Sussex