Blues Cruise into next Round of the Vase
The Heath made the trip to Wick FC from SCFL Division 1 for their first FA Vase game in six years. This was almost an SCFL Premier League fixture this season, with the home side losing out narrowly to Epsom & Ewell in last season’s playoffs. There were a number of changes for the Heath with George McCarthy and George Brown coming into the starting eleven, along with a debut for Emmanuel Abudiore whom impressed in pre season. Napper and Britton were both only fit enough for the bench, with one eye towards the Bank Holiday clash against Steyning.
11 days had passed since the 8-0 home thrashing of Midhurst & Easebourne, but the Blues quickly settled into the same fluency they showed in that fixture, pressing high up the pitch and forcing mistakes from the Wick back line.
As early as the 6th minute, Hayden Skerry took the ball off the centre back from just outside the area and forced a save from the Wick keeper when he perhaps should have scored. Immediately though Skerry made up for the missed chance. From the resulting McCarthy corner the ball travelled all the way to the back post where Skerry controlled the ball well and sent a fierce drive towards the goal, deflecting on the way in.
Barely had heath finished celebrating the first goal, Pitcher was just moments later and slammed his low hard effort across the face of goal and into the far corner to make it 2-0 to Heath in the opening 10 minutes. The Bluebells continues to create chances with Dobell coming closest hitting the side netting where several of the Blues faithful behind the goal thought he had scored.
To their credit, Wick continued to try playing out from the back, but Heath’s high press was forcing mistakes and several Wick players went into the book for late challenges, including the Wick goalkeeper for a foul on Abudiore by the corner flag. Heath finished the half on top and full value for their two goal lead with Jones in the Blue’s goal being nothing but a spectator.
The second half started much the same. Wick were growing into the game but still hadn’t created any chances of note. In the 66th minute the welcome sight of the returning Skipper Byron Napper joined the fray, replacing Skerry much to the relief of the Wick defence. Immediately after the change, Goldsmith flicked a header from a throw in into the path of Charlie Pitcher on the left side. Pitcher ran across his defender moving through on goal but his low shot was saved smartly by the Wick keeper, whom made an even better save on the follow up from Dobell, saving a fierce left foot strike with an outstretched right leg.
Emmanuel Abudiore was starting to cause havoc on the right wing having switched sides with Dobell midway through the first half. Abudiore picked the ball up on halfway, could see nothing to his right, dipped his shoulder to move inwards and then from 25 yards out unleashed a fierce drive which smashed the outside of the post back into play. Heath were pushing hard for a third and just minutes later a chipped ball forward to Dobell on the left saw him drive inwards and force another save from the Wick goalkeeper, this time with his legs.
The Blues pressure finally told in the 74th minute when a McCarthy short corner was helped on by Goldsmith, forcing a handball from the Wick defender. Byron Napper stepped up to smash the ball into the roof of the net and make it 3-0 to the Heath and end the contest. A double substitution followed with Pitcher and Minty being replaced by Britton and LeGrange.
As the travelling Heath faithful sung about heading to Wembley, Wick had their best spell of the game forcing a couple of corners but again no meaningful attempt on goal. In the 86th minute more good link up play between Abudiore and Goldsmith on the right side saw Goldsmith slide Abudiore in, and this time the Wick keeper was beaten for the fourth time, with Emmanuel’s fierce strike eluding him.
Wick finally mustered a shot on target, a header straight at Jones in the 84th minute. But it was a professional and dominant display from the Heath who never looked in danger of exiting the Vase. The draw for the next round had already been made and the Heath will be at home to Selsey on Saturday 23rd September, another team from the SCFL Division One.