Broadbridge Heath and Hassocks produce midweek magic

Broadbridge Heath and Hassocks both produced clean-sheet victories in midweek as their SCFL premier division campaigns continued in winning fashion. Reports from both below...
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Broadbridge Heath 3-0 AFC Varndeanians

SCFL premier

(reported submitted by BBH)

Broadbridge Heath and Hassocks in recent SCFL action against each other - and both teams have had winning weeks | Pic: Steve RobardsBroadbridge Heath and Hassocks in recent SCFL action against each other - and both teams have had winning weeks | Pic: Steve Robards
Broadbridge Heath and Hassocks in recent SCFL action against each other - and both teams have had winning weeks | Pic: Steve Robards

The fixtures continue to come thick and fast for the Bears, who played host to AFC Vardeanians on Tuesday night, their 10th game in just 31 days, and the victory means the Bears have closed the gap between the top three sides in the premier division to just three points.

The first half at times seemed like a training exercise of attack versus defence with most of the visitors’ players holding back in an effort to defend their goal, with Heath on the front foot trying to find a way through the congestion but rarely troubling the visitors’ goalkeeper Jordan Hawkins.

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The Bears’ first clear chance came on 13 minutes when Ryan Brackpool launched a long throw to Kyle Sim standing by the near post, the defender headed the ball backwards to Sam Lemon whose header from six yards was brilliantly saved by Hawkins who pushed it onto the post, the ball rebounded back to the floored keeper and then out to safety.

The deadlock was finally broken on 26 minutes when Brackpool played a long ball down the right flank, allowing Mason Doughty to run through and hit a low right foot shot wide of Jordan into the net.

Heath should have doubled their lead on 36 minutes when Louis Evans played the ball down the left flank to Alex Barbary who took it towards the goal-line before crossing to an unmarked Lemon running into the box but the inform striker put his shot wide of the post.

The visitors best chance of the half came in the 40th minute when the ball found its way to Mark Goldson but the strikers right foot shot was high and wide of target. In the closing stages Brackpool’s header from a corner flew narrowly wide of the post but it remained 1-0 at the break.

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Heath made it 2-0 on 57 minutes when Lemon advanced down the left side of the field, forced his way into the penalty area before unleashing a powerful left foot drive that Jordan could only parry into the path of Barbary who snapped up the opportunity to score his eleventh goal of the season.

That goal seemed to spur on the opposition, who suddenly found their attacking prowess but without being able to breakdown the Heath defence.

The final goal was scored in the 83rd minute on the counter attack with Renato Carvalho leading the charge and playing a through ball straight down the middle to Charlie Martin, Jordan was off his line like a greyhound to clear the danger but played the ball straight back to Carvalho who picked his spot to score into an empty net from 25 yards.

So a good win for the Bears who move up to second place, two points behind the leaders but with two games in hand. It’s going to be an interesting end to the season.

MoM: Jamie Chesworth

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Boss Chris Simmons said afterwards: “Credit to our visitors for doing their homework and making it hard to play our normal game but it was a solid professional performance from us and another three goals and clean sheet is just what we needed!”

BBH: Matthews, Terry (Frankland 46), Chesworth, Weller, Sim, Brackpool, Todd (Parmiter 75), Evans, Barbary (Taylor 65), Lemon (Martin 70), Doughty (Carvalho 60).

It was not such a happy midweek round of fixtures for other Horsham-area SCFL sides.

Horsham YMCA crashed to a 4-0 loss at Hassocks (report below) leaving Dean Carden’s team 12th in the league. It was their second reverse of the week, coming after a 2-1 loss at AFC Uckfield on Saturday.

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Also on the wrong end of a heavy defeat were Loxwood, who lost 5-0 at Peacehaven – a setback after they’d done well to draw 2-2 at Eastbourne United on Saturday.

Steyning are still fourth but their hopes of finishing higher were dented by Tuesday night’s 1-0 loss at Crowborough. Steyning won 2-1 at home to Varndeanians at the weekend.

This Saturday, Broadbridge Heath visit YMCA, Loxwood go to Hassocks, Steyning to Alfold and Roffey to Midhurst.

Hassocks 4-0 Horsham YMCA

SCFL premier

by Scott McCarthy

With eight games crammed into four weeks, February had taken on the look of a pivotal month as Hassocks attempt to secure a top 10 Premier Division finish.

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The Robins end it with five wins, one draw and one defeat. The trip to Eastbourne United was abandoned following a double leg break to opposition striker Tony Halsey and will now be replayed in March.

Hassocks saved the best of their victories for last, completing a first league double since the 2003-04 season over Horsham YMCA via a 4-0 win at the Beacon.

There was little indication of the comfortable scoreline which was to come during a first half which was pretty turgid for the most part.

Neither side kept the ball particularly well, the whistle seemed to blow for some sort of infringement every couple of minutes and good opportunities were at a premium throughout the opening 40 minutes.

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Harvey Blake had a drive deflected behind for a corner early on and YM’s leading marksman Tom Tolfrey dragged wide when James Shaw might have expected to be tested.

Mike Williamson and Leon Turner then linked up well down the left with the latter going for goal from a tight angle when perhaps he should have looked to lay back across.

The half hour mark brought two moments which very much summed up the lack of quality.

First, Tolfrey would have had a clear run at goal had he not elected to use his hand to knock the ball beyond Sam Smith in what resembled a basketball double dribble. Tolfrey was booked for his troubles.

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Phil Johnson was then fouled in a good position some 25 yards out. Johnson took the resulting free kick himself with the ball last seen flying over some houses in neighbouring Hurstpierpoint.

With five minutes remaining until the half, some football finally broke out.

Alfie Loversidge crossed to Liam Benson, whose excellent flicked header was met by an equally impressive tip over the bar at full stretch from Aaron Jeal.

The first meaningful effort of the match was followed 60 seconds later and this time, it resulted in Hassocks taking the lead.

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Smith hit a long ball out of defence which Benson chased. With Jeal advancing to try and cut out the danger, Benson lobbed the ball over the YM goalkeeper and in at the opposite post for a superb finish.

The Robins just about deserved to go into the interval in the lead. They set about extending it with real vigour after the break, winning a flurry of corners.

James Westlake delivered from the left and it needed an outstanding piece of defending from Sam Henderson to prevent a tap in at the back post.

Jack Troak then swung one over from the right which neither Alex Bygraves nor Smith could turn past a mass of white shirts grouped together on the line.

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Both the Hassocks and YM bench were increasingly amused by Troak appearing to be making a noise like an aeroplane as he ran up and down the left flank early in the second half.

YM’s mood soon darkened however when the Robins doubled their advantage in controversial circumstances on 56 minutes.

Loversidge harried Hayden Neathey, eventually forcing the YM defender to ground and coming away with the ball.

The visitors wanted a foul and it was a bit of a surprise when one was not forthcoming.

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Loversidge took full advantage of referee Ian Lane finding in his favour by getting into the YM box and squaring for Johnson to sweep home his traditional goal against his former club.

YM had to get on the front foot in the final half hour if they wanted to salvage anything from the game and that suited Hassocks, who were now content to play on the counter.

Shaw made a big save when turning over a Josh Neathey effort but he was otherwise protected well by Blake, Bygraves, Smith and Troak.

It was opposite number Jeal who ended the match the busier. A flying one handed stop denied Benson.

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Jeal followed that up with a brilliant double save, keeping out Benson’s initial effort from a teasing Loversidge cross and Johnson’s close-range rebound.

There was nothing that Jeal could do when Benson added his second and the Robins’ third with 13 minutes remaining, picking out the bottom corner with a low effort hit from outside the area.

The game was up by that point but Westlake was very vocal in telling his players he expected no let up.

That manifested itself in a fourth goal as proceedings entered injury time, created and finished by two substitutes.

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Phil Gault dropped into midfield to collect the ball and played a pass into space for tall striker Jamie Wilkes to gallop onto.

The rangy Wilkes took possession 40 yards from goal, used his long gazelle-like legs to skip past two desperate YM challenges and drilled home a low shot from 20 yards via the left hand post to complete the rout.

Hassocks: Shaw; Blake, S Smith, Bygraves, Troak; Loversidge, Williamson, J Westlake, Turner; Johnson, Benson. Subs: Harding (Loversidge 76), Gault (Johnson 79), Wilkes (Westlake 82), Bull (Turner 87), Rogers (unused).

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