Haywards Heath Town 8, Selsey 2: Heath extend their lead with biggest win of the season

MOM Callum Saunders opens the scoring. Picture by Grahame Lehkyj
MOM Callum Saunders opens the scoring. Picture by Grahame Lehkyj
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No game for Storrington and the early kick off between Midhurst and Crawley Down ending all square Heath had the ideal opportunity to extend their lead.

Manager Shaun Saunders named a changed starting line-up from last time out. Rob O’Toole was given a day off after a busy week seeing his daughter Emma Harper into this world, Freddie Barker was missing through illness, Scott Marshall working away and Andy Wilkinson returning to the states for a few weeks. Max Miller was once again fit and returned to lead the line with both other strikers unavailable. Simon Lehkyj once again started in Goal, A back line of Bailie Rogers, Tom Graves, Nathan Cooper and a return to the starting line-up for Josh Bryant. Carl Dunk was partnered again by Ryan Warwick in the middle. Completing the midfield were Callum Saunders and Jamie Weston. Up front as previously mentioned was Max Miller and alongside him captain Matt Geard. The bench consisted of Danny Turner, Mike Gardner and Jordan Harris.

Max Miller celebrates his first goal. Picture by Grahame Lehkyj

Max Miller celebrates his first goal. Picture by Grahame Lehkyj

Heath playing into the wind in the first half started well against the relatively young Selsey side, after good opening spells in possession there were just 5 minutes on the clock when the deadlock was broken. Nathan Cooper spotted the run of Matt Geard who in turn picked out Max Miller, his strike was well saved but Callum Saunders was in the right place following up to fire the ball home and give Heath the lead.

It wasn’t long before Heath’s lead was doubled, on 10 minutes Matt Geard played the ball in to Callum Saunders who did brilliantly to prevent the ball from crossing the by-line and cutting it back to Jamie Weston, his strike was saved point blank by the Selsey keeper but Max Miller was first to pounce and stabbed home the loose ball.

Selsey struggled to find any cutting edge into the Heath back line but found some joy back into the game through a long throw. The ball was sent into the box and after some confusion the ball came off Bailie Rogers and into the back of the Heath net.

This set back did not stop the Heath pressure, just two minutes after the Selsey goal Callum Saunders raced clear only to be brought down in the Selsey box, as Hanbury expected a certain penalty everyone was left bemused by the wave of play on!

Simon Lehkyj acrobatically tips the ball over. Picture by Grahame Lehkyj

Simon Lehkyj acrobatically tips the ball over. Picture by Grahame Lehkyj

With thirty minutes played a great flowing move with inter-change passing between Callum Saunders, Jamie Weston and Carl Dunk saw the latter burst into the Selsey box and saw his strike just miss the far post.

On 32 minutes Callum Saunders was brought down just outside the penalty area 3 yards in from the by-line. Jamie Weston lined up the free kick and whipped it towards the far post which it hit and went in.

With just over five minutes of the half remaining Simon Lehkyj pulled off the save of the match tipping over a fierce drive from the Selsey midfielder.With just seconds on the half remaining Josh Bryant burst forwards from right back before sending in a cross that Max Miller met 5 yards out and turn over the line putting the game all but beyond Selsey.

Heath made a half time substitution with Matt Geard being replaced by Danny Turner after picking up a small knock.

Max Miller scores his second goal. Picture by Grahame Lehkyj

Max Miller scores his second goal. Picture by Grahame Lehkyj

Ryan Warwick had been working hard all afternoon in the middle and on 49 minutes went close when his strike went narrowly wide from 20 yards.

Selsey to their credit never stopped working and on 52 minutes after a good phase of play brought a regulation save out of Simon Lehkyj.

Heath made their second change of the afternoon on 58 minutes with Nathan Cooper being replaced by Mike Gardner.

On the hour Heath added their fifth goal of the day, Max Miller was released from midfield, as the keeper advanced and the tackle came in Max Miller found a square pass to the waiting Callum Saunders for him to pick his spot and claim his second goal of the game.

Max Miller was then replaced by Jordan Harris on 62 minutes.

Ryan Warwick then had a rasping strike from 35 yards well saved by the Selsey keeper, as the ball broke so did Selsey and Heath seemed to get carved open by one ball but Simon Lehkyj was quickly out and saved brilliantly in a one on one situation retaining the ball at the same time.

On 73 minutes Heath’s fitness was again starting to show in the latter parts of a game, pressure on the Selsey back line earnt Heath a corner. Callum Saunders whipped in a great ball that Tom Graves met in the 6 yard box, falling backwards turned the ball home.

Six was soon seven as just 4 minutes later Callum Saunders completed his first hat-trick in a Heath shirt. Bailey Rogers playing in a more advanced position danced past two defenders before sliding the ball to Callum Saunders who in turn shifted onto his right and picked out the far corner.

As the game entered the final ten minutes Heath once again had a penalty appeal waved away and Bailie Rogers almost opened his Heath account (at the right end) when a cross/shot was not dealt with in the normal fashion by the Selsey keeper but to his relief the ball spun up and over the bar.

On 84 minutes again Heath switched off as the visitors sent in a free kick from deep that found its way to the back post for a simple tap in for the Selsey striker.

Heath did make immediate amends for this extra goal against by going straight back up the Selsey end and Callum Saunders cut inside from the left of the Selsey box before picking out Jamie Weston who had no problem finding the bottom corner.

Full Time Heath 8-2 Selsey

Man Of The Match – Callum Saunders – A hat-trick on the day plus a hand in three of the other goals proved to be the stand out performance.

Afterwards Manager Shaun Saunders said “It was great that today we finally started to convert the chances we had been creating, I’m of course disappointed by the way we defended and conceded two poor goals but to finish the game by scoring eight at any standard is really good ”

Next up for Heath is visit of Crawley Down Gatwick in the Division One Cup on Tuesday night 7:45pm kick off.

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