Broadbridge Heath narrowly beaten by leaders Littlehampton Town

Broadbridge Heath welcomed SCFL Premier leaders Littlehampton Town to the Countryside Stadium on Saturday and the Marigolds did just enough to take the three points.

When the two sides met back in August in the FA Cup, Littlehampton took a 5-0 half-time lead before cruising to a 6-2 victory.

But Heath have learnt a lot since then and went into the match just six points behind the leaders in fourth.

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The first chance of the half fell to the visitors who were awarded a free kick some 40 yards from goal. The ball was played into Dion Jarvis who took a touch but blasted a right foot shot high and wide of goal.

A rare mistake from Broadbridge Heath stopper Liam Matthews saw Littlehampton Town take the points on Saturday. Picture by Steve Robards

A minute later Louis Blake was through on goal at the other end and forced James Binfield into making the first save of the match, pushing his shot out for a corner.

The visitors had a lucky escape on 16 minutes. Blake played the ball over the defence allowing Jamie Taylor to run through on goal but the Heath striker, who was a yard in front of two chasing defenders, had his shirt pulled back and the chance went begging.

The match referee awarded a free kick but nothing more; from the free kick Cameron Watts forced Binfield into another save pushing the ball over the bar to safety.

The visitors started the second half on the ascendancy and Heath keeper Liam Matthews could do nothing to prevent the opening goal on 60 minutes.

Prolific goal scorer George Gaskin received the ball in space some 25 yards from goal and he rifled a right foot shot that flew past Matthews into the bottom corner.

Heath fought back and were level 10 minutes later. A Charlie Gibson corner from the right was headed goalwards by Kyle Sim at the far post. It was scrambled off the line but went straight back to Sim who smashed a right foot shot into the roof of the net.

The winning goal was scored 12 minutes from time and it was that man Gaskin who netted the winner.

He received the ball some 30 yards from goal and again tried his luck with a fierce right foot shot that flew goalwards. The ball was heading straight to Matthews, who appeared to have it covered, but somehow the ball got through the Heath stopper and found it’s way into the net.

A fortunate goal for the league leaders following a rare mistake by Matthews but the Heath stopper has certainly won many more points for his team with his performances this year.

The win sees the Marigolds open up a six point lead at the top of the SCFL Premier Division.

Heath manager Chris Simmons said: "We played okay first half and created a couple of good chances, but second half Littlehampton started better than us and we just didn’t get going.

"Littlehampton are a quality side with experience all around the pitch and if you give quality players like Gaskin time and space they will punish you.

"I think we did enough for a draw without playing really well so it’s disappointing but we will learn from it."

Broadbridge Heath travel to Little Common this Saturday.