Haywards Heath Town 2, Lancing 0: Saunders’ men bounce back to keep up 100% start

Karly Akehurst surges forward. Haywards Heath Town v Lancing. Picture by Grahame Lehkyj
Karly Akehurst surges forward. Haywards Heath Town v Lancing. Picture by Grahame Lehkyj
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Haywards Heath Town bounced back after last week’s disappointing FA Cup exit with a hard fought 2-0 win at home against Lancing.

The hot August weather showed the pitch in fine condition once again but made play difficult by the slower conditions for both teams. It also brought up a few interesting Niam Rouane and Josh Spinks facing their former club and the return to Hanbury of Mike Williamson and Alex Bygraves now of Lancing.

Manager Shaun Saunders announced a starting line-up of, Nic Taylor in goal a back line of Bailie Rogers, Nathan Cooper, Josh Spinks and Luc Doherty. Niam Rouane captained the side was partnered by the impressive Karly Akehurst in the middle. Completing the midfield was Jamie Weston and Callum Saunders. Up front was Max Miller and alongside him Kane Louis. The bench consisted of James Shaw, Ryan Warwick, Alfie Rogers, Josh Bryant and George Hayward.

The match started and continued in similar vein with lots of fouls and free kicks given as the players both fought for the upper hand.

Heath looked the brighter in the opening exchanges and Max Miller was first to set his sights on goal but his early strike on the turn went high and wide.

With 10 minutes played Karly Akehurst would have been disappointed not to test the keeper after great work from Kane Louis his pull back found Akehurst but his strike drifted over the bar.

Kane Louis protects the ball. Haywards Heath Town v Lancing. Picture by Grahame Lehkyj

Kane Louis protects the ball. Haywards Heath Town v Lancing. Picture by Grahame Lehkyj

Heath’s pressure did pay off 10 minutes later, Max Miller was played in and his ball across the box could only be turned into his own net by the covering Lancing defender.

Heath kept up the pressure and after working himself some space Callum Saunders couldn’t keep his strike on target.

Lancing were really struggling to break down the back line of Nathan Cooper, Josh Spinks, Bailie Rogers and Luc Doherty and any balls into the box were dealt with by Nic Taylor.

On 25 minutes Lancing made a big shout for a penalty but the appeal was waved away for only a corner as it clearly hit Bailie Rogers on the chest.

Max Miller scores the Heath's second goal. Haywards Heath Town v Lancing. Picture by Grahame Lehkyj

Max Miller scores the Heath's second goal. Haywards Heath Town v Lancing. Picture by Grahame Lehkyj

With 31 minutes on the clock Heath doubled their lead with a very well taken goal, Callum Saunders again did well before delivering the ball into Max Miller who finished well on the turn from a tight angle.

The remainder of the half saw little in the way of goal mouth action, on the stroke of half time the Lancing forward broke into the box and went over, the referee made a quick decision by booking the striker for diving.

Heath started the second half the brighter side but struggled to test the Lancing keeper. Kane Louis and Karly Akehurst both saw shot go over the bar.

With 56 minutes played Lancing mustered their first strike at goal but the effort from 30 yards continued to rise over the bar.

Max Miller celebrates his goal. Haywards Heath Town v Lancing. Picture by Grahame Lehkyj

Max Miller celebrates his goal. Haywards Heath Town v Lancing. Picture by Grahame Lehkyj

As the half progressed the game became littered with freekicks which never let the game flow, Kane Louis again tried his luck but couldn’t find the target.

Lancing started to press more as the game entered the final 20 minutes but the Heath back line continued to put up a solid wall.

Heath introduced Ryan Warwick, Alfie Rogers and George Hayward for Kane Louis, Niam Rouane and Max Miller.

Karly Akehurst tried his luck from distance as the game entered the final 6 minutes but his long range shot bounced just over the bar.

Lancing pushed men up in search of a way back into the game and Nic Taylor had an easy save to make as well as watching a ball go safely over.

As full time approached Callum Saunders danced into the box before going past 3 defenders but his strong strike from a tight angle struck the outside of the Lancing post.

Due to stoppages for injuries, subs and water breaks the referee played 7 minutes’ injury time which saw a flurry of activity, Jamie Weston, Callum Saunders and Alfie Rogers all picked up yellow cards and Nic Taylor was called into action to make a great stop low down at his far post.

Heath Man Of The Match – Karly Akehurst – Tough and competitive in the middle for Heath with important break up play and work rate throughout the match.

Afterwards manager Shaun Saunders said: “It’s was a scrappy win today, Lancing were always going to provide tough competitors but we limited their chances and I’m delighted that we came away with our second clean sheet of the league season”

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