Haywards Heath Town beat Three Bridges to pick up first home league win - full match report

Callum Saunders on the attack. Picture by Grahame Lehkyj
Callum Saunders on the attack. Picture by Grahame Lehkyj

A pulsating match unfolded at Hanbury with two sides eager for the win to help lift them in the table.

Haywards Heath Town named an unchanged starting line up from Saturday under the lights of Hanbury. Both sides looked for an early advance in the match with Karly Akehurst first to test the Bridges keeper, efforts from the visitors followed but one high and one wide didn't trouble Josh Heyburn.

Byron Napper saw a snap shot well wide before Bridges had the best chance of the match so far, Heath failed to clear the ball and the powerful effort saw Josh Heyburn called into action with a brilliant point blank stop down low. Heath immediately countered but Max Miller pulled his effort across the keeper and out for a goal kick.

Callum Saunders saw a decent free kick attempt just off target on 19 minutes just before the deadlock was broken. With 22 minutes played Melford Simpson got in front of his marker and saw his effort on target well saved the loose ball saw him head back at goal while laying on the ground and Karly Akehurst got in just before the keeper to stab the ball in.

The visitors looked to respond and a well hit effort flew narrowly wide of Heyburn's goal.

With 27 minutes played Max Miller was again full of running and cutting in hit a effort towards the near post that the keeper couldn't hold or prevent going for a corner, Callum Saunders sent the corner in and Karly Akehurst got between two defenders to head powerfully down and under the keeper to give Heath a two goal lead.

Alex Laing back at Hanbury for the first time since his summer departure saw a well struck effort blocked and then with 5 minutes of the half remaining Heath had Nathan Cooper to thank as he was able to clear the ball off the line.

Just before the half time whistle captain Naim Rouane went over painfully which would be the end of his night Kieron Rowe came on to replce him in the middle of the park.

Three Bridges came out quickly in the second half looking for a way back into the game but Heath held their ground and restricted efforts to distance that didn't worry Heyburn, Alex Laing went close from a free kick but again couldn't get the effort on target.

Heath absorbed the pressure well and started creating efforts of their own again, Max Miller fired wide and Melford Simpsoncould direct the ball on target. Callum Saunders put in a great driving run but the final effort hit the side netting when a square ball may have been a better option. Miller then tried his luck from 40 yards but the keeper was able to watch the ball go just wide.

With time fast running out Bridges through caution to the wind but Trevor McCreadie saw his effort blocked by Josh Spinks and then two injury time headers failed to find the target.

Man Of the Match - Karly Akehurst - two goals and covering every blade of grass although Max Miller ran him close with non stop running both back and forwards.

Afterwards Manager Shaun Saunders said: "I'm delighted to get our first home win of the season and of course that all important clean sheet, we started to play tonight without that fear we have previously shown and I will encourage the lads to take that into the next match away at Ashford in the FA Trophy on Saturday"

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