Victory at the Haven brings first 3 points of the season
The Heath made the short trip to Crawley Down Gatwick looking for their first league victory of the season, and their first away win since mid January when they won 3-2 at Lancing. The home side would prove a tough test having come second in the SCFL last season, only missing out on promotion after losing a playoff game against Sutton Common Rovers.
The blues made a positive start, controlling possession without creating any clear-cut chances. The best chance of the early stages fell to the visitors with the ball breaking to CDG Captain Michael Spence on the back post, but Jones got down well to parry wide. The resulting corner saw Scott Johnston leap highest but his towering header went over the bar.
From there the Blues had the better of the first half, and in the 15th minute a long throw was flicked on by Zydonik. Pitcher did well to swivel and get a shot on target, forcing a smart save from Bellingham. The visitors pressure was building and minutes later Dobell reached the byline, found Wadhams who’s low drive was deflected wide.
Heath were now creating more clear cut chances and in the 33rd minute should have taken the lead when Pitcher flicked the ball onto Skerry who from just inside the CDG half nutmegged his defender, taking him through clean on goal but his effort was denied by a sprawling Bellingham.
Not to be denied themselves, Crawley Down went straight up the other end and should have taken the lead themselves, but Callum Kilkenny forced a diving save from Jones in the Heath net just moments later. It was remarkable that the game was still level, even more so in the 38th minute when a Skerry corner travelled all the way through to the far post where Zydonik could only head wide with the goal at his mercy.
Just when it looked like the game would go into half time level, Goldsmith slid the ball into the channel for Dobell who smashed his shot across goal into the far corner to put the Blues ahead in the 42nd minute. 1-0 Heath.
The home side responded at half time by bringing on the giant Oli Leslie, who towered over the Heath defence and saw a change in tactic from CDG. It was the Heath though who were brimming with confidence and picked up where they left off in the first half. Goldsmith playing the ball inside to Pitcher letting the ball run across his body, sliding in Hayden Skerry who made no mistake this time when through on goal, opening up his body and curling the ball inside the far post to extend Heath’s lead to 2-0 in the 47th minute.
The Bluebells were now rampant and Dobell found Minty on the overlap, his driven cross being headed in from inside the six yard box by Charlie Pitcher scoring his first goal of the season for the Heath in the 57th minute. It was at this stage though that the Blue’s stopped controlling the game, and CDG took over with a number of diagonal balls taking advantage of their height superiority up front.
Almost immediately after the restart a scramble saw the ball fall to Josh Brown who slid the ball underneath Alfie Jones, game on. Things would become more nervous for the travelling Heath fans who had travelled in good numbers just 10 minutes later when in the 68th minute another scramble saw Oli Leslie’s shot ricochet off of Jones and an onrushing Heath defender to make the score 3-2.
From this point, Haywards Heath defended more resolutely and despite coming under an aerial bombardment, there were no real clear cut chances to speak of. The Blues were still looking dangerous on the break, and some great pressing from Dobell and Pitcher led to a Bellingham clearance being fired at Dobell, but he could only hook the ball wide with his left foot under pressure.
A first win of the season for the Heath, who remain unbeaten in the SCFL after three games and will feel much more confident having gotten several key players back as the fixtures continue to come thick and fast.
Crawley Down Gatwick: 1.) Alex Bellingham, 2.) Jack Ryder, 3.) Scott Johnston, 4.) Michael Spence (C), 5.) Billy Wright, 6.) Jamie Bakhit, 7.) Ben Chowney, 8.) Josh Brown, 9.) Lewis Gould, 10.) Callum Kilkenny, 11.) Rhys White
Substitutes: 12.) Michael Belli, 14.) Louis Pittock, 15.) Alex Tidy, 16.) Ben Connolly, 17.) Oli Leslie
Leslie for White – 46th minute
Belli for Kilkenny – 51st minute
Pittock for Johnson – 61st minute
Connolly for Brown – 85th minute
Tidy for Gould – 85th minute
Haywards Heath: 1.) Alfie Jones, 19.) Max Blencowe, 3.) Dan Cadman, 15.) JJ Minty, 6.) Mark Zydonik, 7.) Hayden Skerry, 8.) Darius Goldsmith, 9.) Charlie Pitcher, 11.) Adrian Britton, 14.) Cameron Dobell, 16.) Ashley Wadhams
Substitutes: 12.) George McCarthy, 2.) Jake LeGrange, 5.) George Brown, 17.) Elliot Bresciani, 20.) Callum McVicar
McCarthy for Wadhams – 57th minute