New crop of Heath players seen off by clinical Oakwood

Oakwood v Haywards Heath Town. Picture by Tony Sim
Oakwood v Haywards Heath Town. Picture by Tony Sim
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The opening game of the season was always going to be a good test for the new crop of Heath players.

Manager Ryan Andrews was without, Tom Bradshaw, Josh O’Brien, Pat Gannon, James Smith and Peter Proto. 16 year old Paul Woods was given his senior début in the Heath Goal and the rest of the side was made up from a mix of youth and experience.

Heath were fast out of the blocks and in the opening 3 minutes created 3 great chances to open the scoreline, first Rob Clark fired just wide after the midfield Duo of Michael Forbes and George McMahon worked hard to break down Oakwood. Next was James Senra but he was also not able to work the keeper and finally Rob Clark was found by Luke Paskins but again not able to find the target.

Oakwood suddenly woke up and a defence splitting ball between Tom Hughes and Chris Simmons saw the Oakwood number 9 race clear and fire past Paul Woods in the Heath goal, Woods was disappointed as he got a good hand to the firmly struck shot but the power meant it still found its way in on 3 minutes.

On 11 minutes Oakwood doubled their lead, following a corner Heath were not able to clear their lines properly and the ball was fired home.

The game settled down but possession was on the side of Oakwood as Heath struggled to find time and space to play football often giving possession away too easily. Rob Clark worked hard up front chasing everything but often getting little reward for his efforts. Heaths best outlet was down the right with Nathan Stepney providing some good crosses but always eluding the Heath Strikers. Heaths closest chance of the 1st half came on 30 minutes when some good work on the edge of the box Luke Paskins fierce strike hit the Oakwood crossbar.

At the other end it took some good defending by Ian Payne and Tom Kilner-Brown to keep Oakwood at bay.

Heath were forced into a change at the break with Michael Forbes being replaced by Scott Woolley due to injury.

On 48 minutes it was all but game over with Oakwood again breaking through and finishing past Paul Woods.

Oakwood again got past Heath on 58 minutes to make the score 4-0

Heath then withdrew Nathan Stepney and on came Adam Bates for his Heath début. The wingers impact gave Heath some more life as he started getting at the back line of Oakwood. It was his pass into Rob Clark that should have given the striker his 1st goal of the season that his work rate had deserved but after finding space he fired over the bar.

On 75 minutes Heath made their final change with Aaron Hinton replacing James Senra.

Heath finally pulled a consolation goal for the supporters to cheer on 80 minutes Adam Bates’ cross picked out Tom Kilner-Brown and he was able to hold off his marker and fire past the Oakwood Keeper.

MOM - Rob Clark for his endless work rate

Manager Ryan Andrews said: “it is disappointing to lose the first game of the season, we have been progressing well over the last few weeks but today is a big wake up call to the lads in what is required to compete in Division 2, having players unavailable is obviously disappointing but that is football, we will learn from today and move on to the next game.”