Haywards Heath Town 2-1 Herne Bay
Haywards Heath Town 2-1 Herne Bay

An extremely disappointing and frustrating afternoon at Haywards Heath.

Following a dominant first half display where we led 1-0 at half time, Bay came out for the second period spending 80% of the 45 minutes in their own half and continuously giving the ball away. Gone was the passing, pressing football of the first, replaced with long kicks up field giving the ‘heathens’ possession which allowed them to press high and get the equalizer plus the winning goal in the closing minutes.

Bay did not have one shot on target for the whole of the second half. What is baffling is why we continue to play the short goal kick out to one of the defenders standing more or less on the goal line, for that defender to simply boot the ball upfield giving possession back to the opposition. If this is the tactic why doesn’t the keeper simply cut out the middle man and hoof the ball straight from the goal kick?
The first half on the other hand was much more enjoyable and Bay thoroughly deserved the lead that Tom Carlton’s goal gave.

Bay could have been two up inside the first 5 minutes. Ronald Sobowale scuffed a shot from 6 yards which rolled safely into the keeper’s arms. And then Jake Embery effort from an extremely tight angle goes inches wide of the near post. Despite dominating the play Bay hadn’t broken the deadlock. On the half hour Bradley Schafer shot heading for the top corner was brilliantly turned away by keeper, Josh Heyburn. From the resulting corner, Carlton shoots from the tight angle into the side netting.

Then with 5 minutes left in the half Bay score. Good work between Schafer and Embery on the edge of the box leads to Embery pulling the ball back to Carlton who calmly side foot the ball past Heyburn into the far corner.

The next 45 minutes was completely different. Heaths centre forward Trevor McCreadie gave the early warning; straight from the restart he forced Simon Overland to make a point blank save. Six minutes later Danny Rumbol makes a diving block, preventing Andrew Dalhouse from scoring from three yards out.

Bay were under real pressure but still they fought to keep the first half lead with Rumbol, Connor Wilkins and Ben Gorham outstanding in defence.

From a free kick twenty yards out the ever dangerous winger Alex Laing nipped in front of his marker to place his header wide of Overland, bringing the scores level. This spurred the Heathens on and Bay were really on the back foot, just clearing the ball away and conceding possession time after time. Laing came close to getting the lead when his fine long rang volley grazed the cross bar with 10 minutes left on the clock.

In the closing minutes Laing fired in another goal bound shot which Overland got down very quickly,
turning the ball around the upright for a corner. From this corner, Heath’s substitute Tom Graves rose the highest to head the winning goal from close range.

With Faversham Town beating Greenwich Borough, it preserved Bay’s 3 point advantage over Borough but with a number of really difficult fixtures coming up it is going to be a tough ask to get away from the relegation zone.

Herne Bay: Simon Overland, Alex Mulrooney-Skinner, Raphe Brown, Ben Gorham, Danny Rumbol, Connor Wilkins, Bradley Schafer, Tom Carlton, Jake Embery, Ronald Sbowale, Harry Miller

Subs Used: Michael Freiter (Miller 75) Simon Kabamba (Brown 85)

Subs not used: Callum Adonis-Taylor Tahjae Anderson

Attendance: 97