Blues take all three points at the Withdean
It was an away journey to the Withdean Stadium for the Heath on a sunny but chilly Saturday afternoon. Naim Rouane’s side had announced the arrival of two familiar faces in midweek, with Josh Spinks returning to Hanbury from Burgess Hill Town and Liam Benson arriving from Hassocks. The latter started the game upfront, meanwhile, Rouane opted for consistency in the heart of his defence with Gilbert and Hendy the pairing at the back.
Jake Riddington drew the first card of the match, knocking the ball past Varndeanian’s number 11 and then being brought down in the process, the V’s winger swiftly booked. After a strong and positive start from the new number 9, Benson’s hold-up play and pressing was already causing issues for the Varndean defenders. It only took 20 minutes for Benson to tuck away his first goal for the Heath, Byron Napper’s sublime turn and pass in behind leaving the striker with the job of finding the bottom corner which he did perfectly.
Heath nearly had a second after some fantastic patient build-up play led to Skerry’s shot on goal, the keeper getting down quickly to deny him. A move which summarised Rouane’s approach and philosophy. The Heath took their goal lead into the break and made one change for the second half, Josh Spinks replacing Dan Cadman who went down with a knock in the first half. Spinks’ appearance set the counter 1,358 days since he last played for Haywards Heath back to 0 – and his quality showed from the off, his progressive carries were crucial in Heath getting up the pitch and making more chances in the second half.
The hosts nearly equalized after a miscommunication at the back from the Blues after a cleared Heath corner, Jones left in no man’s land and beaten to the ball by the Varndeanians player, the ball heading towards goal but to the relief of the Heath, rolling wide and sparing their blushes.
The Blues doubled their lead with 10 minutes to go, Napper’s corner met the head of Hendy sending the ball towards the net, and Skerry’s fast reaction turning the ball goalwards and it couldn’t be kept out by the Hosts.
A much-needed turn of fortunes for HHTFC in the league putting an end to their winless run, and a major confidence boost ahead of the visit of Little Common FC on Saturday.