Heath into 2nd Round of Vase Despite late scare
The Heath welcomed Eastbourne Town back to Hanbury Park Stadium on a wet Saturday afternoon in the FA Vase. Having lost their league clash with the visitors a few weeks prior, the Heath had revenge on their mind as they looked to put their name in the hat for the next round. Naim Rouane’s starting XI featured debutant Liam Hendy who arrived from Littlehampton in the week and a first start for midfielder Sam Geard.
The Blues started strongly, dominating possession and coming close to an early opener, Hayden Skerry’s shot straight at the Eastbourne Town goalkeeper, and Sam Geard was unable to hit the target after a deflection fell to him in the box. It would be an own goal which gave Heath the lead in the 14th minute, Charlie Pitcher played out onto the left-hand side with a lovely through ball, the striker adjusting onto his favoured right foot and curling a ball to the back post where Town’s number 3’s attempted control poked the ball into the goalkeeper and then into the bottom corner. Heath were forced into a change in the 33rd minute as Finney was unable to continue, he was replaced by George McCarthy.
And an impressive first half was rounded off when Skerry finally put his name on the scoresheet. Pitcher the creator once more pulling the ball across the box and leaving the winger the job of tapping home and doubling the Heath’s lead before the break. It was a dominant first half performance from the home side.
The Blues showed more of the same control on the game in the second 45, having the lion’s share of possession, just like in the first, but the visitors would find a goal out of nowhere. Heath caught short at the back and allowed Ollie Davies to pull one back in the 73rd minute.
Heath should have put the game to bed in the 81st, Skerry, Napper and Pitcher all had shots at goal, but none could find the back of the net. Eastbourne Town had a brief spell of pressure in the dying moments, and they scrambled in an equalizer in the 90th minute taking the match to a penalty shootout, harsh for the Blues who for the most part were in control of the match.
Eastbourne Town took first, the goalscorer of the visitor’s first blazing over the bar. Heath Skipper Byron Napper was up next, and his penalty calmly converted. ETFC’s Sisimayi was next, but Alfie Jones made the save to deny him. Hayden Skerry was Heath’s second taker, his penalty hitting the back of the net. The visitor’s 3rd penalty was converted making the score 2-1, but Darius Goldsmith remained composed as he tucked his penalty away to make it 3-1. And finally, Pearson’s penalty crashed against the post and stayed out meaning the Heath progressed to the next round of the FA Vase.