Heath Await Semi Final Opponents
By Stuart Morgan
Heath booked their semi final place in the Sussex Senior Cup with a 3-1 win over East Preston
Heath saw off the SCFL's East Preston but didn't have it all their own was at Hanbury as East Preston proved resilient and worked Heath hard through the 90 minutes.
Heath settled the best of the two sides and after sustained early pressure Alex Laing opened the scoring in the 7th minute finishing well from distance leaving the East Peston keeper George Bentley rooted to the spot.
The visitors reacted well to going behind and it took two smart blocks to prevent Josh Heyburn from being tested.
Laing almost doubled his and Heath's lead with a great effort on the volley after 16 minutes that crashed against the top of the crossbar.
Karly Akehurst's effort 5 minutes later need a good save low to the keepers left. Callum Saunders then opted for power over precision as he smashed wide from 10 yards.
With just a goal in it East Preston continued to look dangerous on the break, Josh Heyburn held an attempt straight at him on 27 minutes and then on 32 minutes a great ball out to the right saw the winger beat Luke Robinson before cutting the ball back across goal for Asa Nicholson to tap in.
The rest of the half played out without further incident as both sides went in at the break probably for slightly different team talks!
Half Time - Heath 1-1 East Preston
Heath's half time team talk obviously exacted a reaction as the second half Heath dominated but again were made to work hard for every chance. Only a perfectly timed tackle on Karly Akehurst prevented him from getting his shot away early in the half, and soon after Callum Saunders was again testing the keeper as his guided header toward the top corner needed palming away.
The back was now being well marshalled by Nathan Cooper, Josh Spinks, Sean Roddy and Luke Robinson as they shut down any attacks the visitors mounted.
With 59 minutes played Heath were awarded a dubious penalty as handball was awarded against the defender although it looked as if it hit him in the midriff. The visitors could thank keeper George Bentley moment later as he saved the penalty and they felt justice had been served.
The missed penalty didn't see heads drop and it was just minutes later when Heath took the lead for the second time in the match. A deep ball in by Alex Laing was headed back across goal by Melford Simpson and Josh Spinks headed in from 6 yards out.
The game was wrapped up in the 65th minute when Kane Louis picked up a loose clearance 30 yards out and struck an effort that bounced up just in front of the keepers dive to seal Heath's passage to the semi final.
Max Miller saw a fine effort on 68 minutes well saved and pushed onto the post by a full length dive.
Heath then managed the match and used their 3 substitutes most noticeably Under 18 goal machine Ollie Broad making his debut and as the match entered injury time Alex Laing released the youngster but from a tight angle he chose team over self and looked to find Callum Saunders that the covering defender got just in time to clear the danger.
Full Time Heath 3-1 East Preston
MOM - Match Sponsor Barbara Lehkyj chose Josh Spinks for a fine performance at the back.
A reminder that Saturday's match against Guerney FC will kick off at 1pm