Laing Nets Perfect Hat-Trick As Heath Hit Littlehampton For Six
The Blues return to winning ways to maintain their place at the top of the SCFL
After a disappointing display in their draw at Worthing United at the weekend, Shaun Saunders was looking for a response from his Haywards Heath team as they traveled to the south coast to face basement club Littlehampton on Tuesday evening.
With Trevor McCreadie ruled out with a sore knee, new signing Jack Langford made his first start for the club up front. Kane Louis once again featured on the team sheet alongside new signing Jamie Cradock who made his debut at left-back in place of Bailie Rogers. Jamie Weston also returned to the starting line-up in place of Max Miller.
The opening 10 minutes saw the home side start brightly with supporters fearing that this could be another struggle for Heath against a team raising their game against the league leaders. These fears went unfounded however as the Blues took the lead through Alex Laing. The tricky attacker received a pass inside the area from Langford on the break and made no mistake in beating Jon Hendrick in the Littlehampton goal.
One became two just four minutes later as Laing dropped to his belly to head the ball home from close range after a cross from Kane Louis out on the left.
Jack Langford then opened his account for Heath to score his team's third goal of the half with a fine header in the 25th minute from Jamie Cradock's cross.
The Blues went into the interval four goals to the good as Laing completed his perfect hat-trick by scoring with his left foot into the roof of the net after he intercepted goalkeeper Hendrick's poor pass inside the Littlehampton box.
Often teams fail to repeat such goal-scoring exploits in the second period, but Jack Langford doubled his tally as he scored from the tightest of angles at the right hand post to make it 5-0 with the second half just 7 minutes old.
Heath's traveling fans were then forced to wait another half an hour to see the sixth and final goal of the evening as substitute Max Miller scored one off his shin pad to convert Joel Daly's cross into the box following a fine cross-field ball by Laing.
It wasn't all Heath though, as the home side had their chances throughout the 90 minutes, forcing goalkeeper Simon Lehkyj to pull off a few fine saves, with right-back Joel Daly putting in a sublime goal-saving tackle late in the second half to preserve the clean sheet. Jamie Cradock looked solid on his debut at left-back to give Shaun Saunders yet another quality option in the squad.
The win was Heath's biggest in the SCFL this season and sees the Blues pull 7 points clear at the top of the table with 15 league games left to play.
Man of the Match - Alex Laing
Up against his former club, Laing had a point to prove and did so in style by scoring a perfect hat-trick. Laing is a fiery character and did very well to keep control as Littlehampton decided to kick lumps out of him for the rest of the game and not the ball!