Bears play in woods … Broadbridge Heath go top of premier with win over Loxwood
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The setting of this match at Loxwood under floodlights must be one of the most picturesque in Sussex football with the tall fir trees that surround the pitch reaching high into the night sky and making one feel quite serene on a cold spring evening watching the Bears play in the woods.
The quality of the match though didn’t quite live up to the settings, lots of endeavour, some good football and some not so good.
The hosts came close to breaking the deadlock on 5 minutes when Alex Plummer’s shot from the edge of the penalty area flew off the top of the crossbar but it was the Bears who took the lead 7 minutes later when Mason Doughty ran at the Loxwood defence, took the ball to the goal line before cutting it back from the right across the face of goal to Alex Barbary for a tap-in from 4 yards.
Loxwood responded well but were somewhat fortunate to equalise 3 minutes later when Jake Lindsey crossed the ball from the right, no Loxwood player was anywhere near the cross but the ball sailed over Liam Matthews head and went in off the post at the far side.
Heath reacted well with Adrian Todd going close with a left foot shot and Charlie Weller cutting in from the right and rifling a right foot shot just wide. Doughty tested his shooting prowess 10 minutes before the break but his effort sailed over the crossbar and it remained 1-1 at the break.
As the temperature dropped so did the quality of football as the second half resumed and the Magpies took the lead 10 minutes into the restart when Jay Popham got behind the Heath defence, took the ball into the penalty area where it struck Kyle Sim’s outstretched arm, no complaints from the Heath defender as Popham stepped up to strike a low right foot shot to Matthews right which the keeper saved but Popham was able to score with the rebound.
This time it was the Bears who drew level within 3 minutes when Louis Evans played a cross-field ball to Doughty wide on the left, the Magpies keeper came sprinting off his line to intercept but Doughty coolly dribbled around him, then a defender, before cutting the ball back to Matt Penfold to smash home from 12 yards, his first goal of the season.
Heath continued to create some good chances to add a third but failed to take the many opportunities that came their way, Alex Barbary was unlucky with a right foot shot was just wide of target, Kyle Sim hammered a right foot shot wide. Jack Frankland wriggled his way into the penalty area but then shot tamely straight at the keeper and Doughty came close twice shooting straight at the keeper with his first and then wide of target with his second.
With time running out the game looked to be heading for a draw but with 2 minutes of normal time remaining, Frankland played a cross field pass from right to left to Charlie Parmiter who chested it down, took it past a defender and played it across the face of goal to Jamie Taylor at the far post for a tap-in and victory to the Bears.
A tough match for the Bears, the hosts played much better than their league position suggests but a very good 3 points for the Bears when not playing at their best. Next up is a clash of the Titans as the top two in the division meet when Heath welcome Newhaven to the BodyMould Community Stadium on Saturday, 3pm – Heath hope you can make it.
MOM: Alex Barbary
Heath manager Chris Simmons said afterwards: “We didn’t play great and didn’t work the ball well enough through the midfield, that being said Loxwood were a good really well coached energetic young side and are much better than there league position suggests, our lads never gave up and in the end gave everything they had to get a winner.”
Team: Matthews, Frankland, Chesworth (Penfold 56), Weller, Sim, Brackpool, Todd, Evans (Taylor 62), Barbary, Parmiter, Doughty (Symonds 89).
Report submitted by BBH FC