A battle weary Broadbridge Heath were unable to convert early chances in their 1-0 loss at Wick in Division 2 of the Sussex County League.
The exertions of the extra-time defeat of Eastbourne United in the Charity Cup in midweek took their toll, but Heath did have chances to cancel out what was a calamitous Wick opener.
Despite missing Ben Arthur, Mark Cave, Gary Pritchard, Damon Aston and Rob Godfrey, Steve Painter’s side started well, with Tim Martin and Stuart Chester both looking dangerous down the left flank and it was Chester who forced Wick stopper Jordan Matthews into the first save of the afternoon at the near post.
Two minutes later Grant Miller’s floated free kick found Dan Attwater, whose effort was blocked on the line. Further Heath efforts fell to Jake Holmes, who directed a header just wide and Jamal Sultan, who cut in from the right but his left-foot effort from the edge of the penalty area sailed over the crossbar.
But only goal of the game came after half an hour. Heath were awarded a free kick deep in their own half and instead of, instead of hitting a long pass downfield, Ross Swaine passed the ball straight across his own goalmouth, Heath keeper James Fisher and defender Dan Attwater tried to gather but only managed to get in each other’s way and Wick’s leading scorer Michael Frangou gratefully accepted the opportunity to score one of the easiest goals he’s ever likely to get.
Into the second period and as the conditions worsened so did Heath’s normal fluent play whereas the home side looked more confident, played a higher tempo game and looked the more likely side to score. Only some fine James Fisher saves and a goalline clearance from matyrn Flack prevented Wick scoring again.
Heath did rally towards the end of the game though, Matthews was out quick to save a Holmes effort with his legs and in the dying minutes the young Wick keeper produced an excellent save to tip a Holmes header over the crossbar but on the day the home-side deserved the victory.
BBH: Fisher, Swaine (Robinson 80mins), Chester, Attwater, Flack, Miller, Waddingham (Drinkwater 60mins), Sultan, Holmes, Martin, Woods