Heath back in the hunt after Lancing win

Callum Saunders gave Heath the lead from the spot
Callum Saunders gave Heath the lead from the spot

Two goals and a second consecutive clean sheet were enough to bag all three points as Haywards Heath Town proved too strong for Lancing.

Prior to the match Heath were given a lift with both Joel Daly and Jamie Weston returning from injury and being named amongst the substitutes.

Heath's starting line-up saw Josh Heyburn continue in goal, a back line of Scott Chamberlain, Jamie Cradock, Josh Spinks and Nathan Cooper. Providing the width were Max Miller and Callum Saunders with Karly Akehurst and skipper Naim Roaune in the middle. Kane Louis supported Melford Simpson up front. Along with Weston and Daly, Tom Graves, Maxime Agnoly and George Hayward completed the match day squad.

Heath were really on it from the start today and a dominant first half performance was only rewarded just before half time with Callum Saunders sending Tyler D’Cruz the wrong way from the spot after Jamie Cradock was fouled just inside the Lancing box.

Up until that point in the game Heath really could and should have been out of site but some good goalkeeping, some wayward efforts and the woodwork prevented the score from being any more than one at the break.

Melford Simpson saw an early header wide, then on 8 minutes Kane Louis played the big striker in but his effort beat the keeper but not the post cannoning off the inside and across the goal line before being cleared away.

As the half progressed Callum Saunders dragged his effort from distance two yards wide before Melford Simpson again found some space but his lobbed effort cleared the cross bar. Simpson was then denied at the near post with a good save from the Lancing shot stopper.

On 31 minutes Kane Louis chased down the Lancing keeper in to a hurried clearance that fell to Simpson 25-yards from goal but with the goal at his mercy his strike was too well hit and cleared the bar.

Jamie Cradock was next to test the keeper but his weaker foot effort was comfortably gathered by the keeper.

Max Miller had a good opportunity on 36 minutes after out pacing his marker but the keeper was once again alert and out quickly to make a good stop with feet, the recycled ball was then crossed in but Melford Simpson’s header was straight at the keeper.

Lancing had their best chance of the half on 38 minutes but the striker’s effort could only find the side netting from a tight angle when a cut back to Mike Williamson may well have been the better option.

Heath then won and converted the penalty to open the scoring and go into the interval one goal to the good.

Heath started the second half as they finished the first. Callum Saunders got into a good position but dragged his volley at goal wide. Lancing also looked for a way back into the game and when Heath could only half clear a corner the return Lancing effort was well blocked by a Heath backline.

Heath doubled their lead on 49 minutes, a great through ball from Karly Akehurst released Melford Simpson in the Lancing box, his initial effort was saved ball the ball fell back to him and from a tight angle made no mistake slotting the ball in.

Williamson saw his effort for Lancing from distance easily dealt with by Josh Heyburn as Lancing sought a way back into the game.

Heath were forced into their first substitution on 53 minutes as Callum Saunders pulled up with a hamstring pull chasing a ball, Maxime Agnoly replace him for his home debut at Hanbury.

Both sides had more attempts at goal as Max Miller saw his strike well blocked and Lewis Finney for Lancing firing over when well placed.

Tom Graves replaced Nathan Cooper and George Hayward came on for Karly Akehurst as the game progressed.

In the final 10 minutes it was all Heath as Maxime Agnoly scooped the ball over the bar from 10 yards and then fizzed a shot across goal that just missed the target.

Save of the match came on 88 minutes as Tyler D’Cruz was a full stretch to keep out a fantastic effort from full back Scott Chamberlain.

The fial chance of the game was a great Heath move that saw Max Miller cross to Melford Simpson who unselfishly headed back to George Hayward but he didn’t make proper contact with the volley and the ball drifted wide.

Man of the Match – Solid performances throughout the Heath team today and difficult to pick out one player but Kane Louislinked up the play and was on top form in the hole for Heath working hard both forwards and back.

Manager Shaun Saunders said: “I am delighted with the win, I think we showed today what we are capable of and certainly had that energy and endeavour that some games over the past few months have been missing.

"The team had that positive vibe I require in the team and this showed on the pitch. To be back keeping clean sheets is also vitally important and we will be looking to push on from here in the tightest title race I have ever been involved in”.

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