Eastbourne Utd AFC 4
Haywards Heath Town 0
The scoreline was less than flattering to Heath as they had the lion’s share of possession but manager Simon Corless admitted his side need to learn lessons.
“We lost concentration a few times and at this level you get punished,” he said. “I have to admit the standard in Division 2 has been even better than I thought it would be and Eastbourne are a towering side. I’ll be surprised if they don’t win the title.
“But we gave them plenty to think about and just have to learn our lessons. It was heartening that their manager Simon (Rowland), who I know well, said we were one of the best sides they have played this season.”
Jamie Wanstall was unlucky to see his looping effort hit the bar before Ryan McBride broke the deadlock on 36 minutes.
After that Heath felt they should have been awarded a penalty when Naim Rouane was brought down.
Already without the combative Tom Rabbetts and Rick Peacock, Heath also lost keeper George Hyde at half time. He injured his hand midway through the first half and could be out for some time.
“He’s broken his hand and is in plaster up to his elbow,” explained Corless. “He’s having the injury reviewed on the 16th to see if he needs an operation but we’re hoping not.”
The visiting boss was relieved to have a keeper on the bench, unsually. Ex-Newhaven keeper Graham Leach took over for the second half.
Jason Taylor made it 2-0 on 64 minutes and then sub Casey Ham struck only a minute after his introduction. Ham also set up Linton Rogers for the final goal on 88 minutes.
“It was a difficult day,” admited Corless, who also lost skipper Alex Bygraves with a groin injury but is hoping he will be fit for this weekend.
Heath: Hyde (Leach, 45); Fiest, Brygraves (Whitecroft, 75), Gardner, Hall; Mobsby, Tuckey, Wanstall; Mvale (Brazil), Williamson, Rouane