Heath Slay Dragons in Peter Bentley Cup
Haywards Heath still going strong in four cup competitions made the midweek trip to Wick for their second game in a month, having dispatched the Dragons 4-0 in the FA Vase a month ago. This game in the Peter Bentley Cup would be a lot less straight forward.
In the earlier Vase fixture, Heath took an early lead and never looked back. They looked to do the same again with a much-changed lineup including a second appearance for Oscar Kemp, and debutant Sam Geard on the bench having just completed a move from Hassocks.
The opening 15 minutes saw a glut of corners for the Heath with outstanding delivery from Kemp. Pitcher had a number of efforts on goal during this period, but the best chance fell to Blencowe in the 12th minute when a corner from the left side fell to him at the back post, but his hooked effort was straight at the goalkeeper.
The Wick Ultras behind the goal Wick were attacking were in fine voice, and they were in delirium as a speculative through ball was chipped over the onrushing Jones to make it 1-0 to the home side. The Blues were comfortable in possession, but lacking their usual drive and tempo. Despite this the chances kept coming with Zydonik having several chances from excellent Kemp deliveries.
In the 30th minute a goal out of nothing. Skerry surrounded by the red dragons, he eluded several with twinkle toes before dispatching a fierce effort across the goalkeeper to equal the scores. The relief amongst the Blues players was tangible and a minute later Kemp was slid through on goal, only for his effort to slide wide.
The home side had much more threat than in the corresponding Vase fixture though, and Jones had to stay resolute to tip one effort onto the bar and showed strong hands to knock another effort wide on his near post.
Heath were invigorated by the half time break and came out with a lot more purpose to their play. In the 49th minute a McCarthy cross whipped towards the goal, and Pitcher’s flick was straight at the goalkeeper when either side it would have gone in. Pitcher had the next big chance too with a high press forcing a turnover, but he could only snatch at his shot into the side netting.
From this point though there only looked to be one winner, and the Blues took a deserved lead just a minute later when Abudiore slid Skerry in on the right side after fine approach play, and his fierce drive went through the keeper this time to put the Bluebells 2-1 ahead.
In recent weeks the Heath have been fine frontrunners, growing in confidence as the half continued, and Sam Geard impressed with several touches after coming on for Kemp. It was Geard’s 1-2 with Abudiore which led to the latter firing low past the keeper from a tight angle on the left. 3-1, and for the second time in a month the Dragons flame had been extinguished.
The game petered out from there, except for a horrid challenge on Geard from the Wick captain which earned a deserved red card, and no doubt a three match suspension to follow. Both Britton and Skerry were close from free kicks late on, but there were no further additions to the scoreline, and the Blues ended up with comfortable passage into the third round of the Peter Bentley Cup.