Heath secure three vital points against promotion-chasing Sheppey
Photos by Ray Turner
The Heath welcomed promotion chasing Sheppey United to Hanbury looking for their first win in 13 games since a 3-2 victory against Lancing in mid January. Sheppey had won four straight including a 5-1 victory over Beckenham Town last time out, so came to Hanbury in fine form.
It was the Heath though who opened the scoring as early as the 5th minute when a James Dickson corner ricocheted towards Conrad Honore, his left footed volley from just inside the box powerfully struck home into the bottom left corner.
Whilst there were very few clear cut chances, the visitors were growing into the game and providing a constant threat. In the 29th minute Dean Gunner was adjudged to have handled in the area when a fierce cross from point blank range hit his outstretched arm.
Sheppey captain Richard Hamill stepped up and rifled the ball into the roof of the net giving Collings no chance. The visitors ended the half on top, with only a last ditch Tom Cadman tackle denying the Ites a certain goal following up from a Collings save.
The second half saw more of the same, with the game being played at a good tempo but not much to split between the two sides. A Dickson tackle in midfield was picked up by D’arienzo, picking out a left footed through ball to Pingling. Pingling was able to burst past the defender trying to pull him back, but his shot was well saved by the legs of Prall in the Sheppey goal.
Another Sheppey break just minutes later caught the Heath backline off guard, with a lobbed ball chased down by Ite’s 11 Embery, and Collings rushing out to block the ball with his side just outside the area, with the referee correctly ignoring protests of handball from the Ite’s bench.
Moments later in the 60th minute was the defining moment. Captain Dean Gunner standing over a free kick from 25 yards out, bending his effort around the Sheppey wall into the corner of the net for his 5th goal of the season, sending the vast majority of the 403 supporters into raptures.
There were several nervous moments for the Heath to endure, with the visitors hitting both post and bar, however they were able to hold on for a crucial three points, perhaps finally enjoying a bit of luck that had eluded them in recent weeks.
- Billy Collings, 2) Ben Holden, 3) Tom Cadman, 6) Dean Gunner, 8) James Dickson, 9) Michael Uwezu (George Brown 87), 10) Richard Pingling (Byron Napper 84), 14) Cameron Dobell, 16) Conrad Honore, 17) Nicholas D’Arienzo, 20) Mario Gjini (Alex Laing 77)
Unused Substitutes: 12) Spike Steggall, 15) Mo Diallo