Broadbridge Heath get better of Hassocks but lose to Eastbourne United

Broadbridge Heath beat Hassocks 2-1 as SCFL premier division action resumed following a couple of weather-hit weekends. We heard from both camps and you can read their reports below. Meanwhile Horsham YMCA have rediscovered home comforts with a win and a draw at Gorings Mead. Martin Read reports on those two games, also below.
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Here’s how Broadbridge Heath FC saw their 2-1 SCFL premier win over Hassocks…

The weather finally allowed the Bears to play their first match since Boxing Day and only their second game in eight weeks.

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Despite the recent lack of football, both sides put on an entertaining game for the 100-plus supporters who came along to Wickhurst Lane.

Broadbridge Heath and Hassocks do battle | Picture: Steve RobardsBroadbridge Heath and Hassocks do battle | Picture: Steve Robards
Broadbridge Heath and Hassocks do battle | Picture: Steve Robards

Heath welcomed back keeper Alfie Hadfield for his first match since breaking his elbow at Eastbourne United in August.

In an even opening 30 minutes, neither side troubled the opposition goalkeeper too much.

On 36 minutes Sean Terry won a corner and Jamie Chesworth’s delivery found Ryan Brackpool, who headed home at the near post.

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That seemed to spur the Bears into action and minutes later Alex Barbary was put through by Andy Waddingham. The Heath striker had a pop at goal with a right-foot shot from 25 yards that the Hassocks keeper did well to push wide.

Horsham YMCA attack Loxwood | Picture: Beth ChapmanHorsham YMCA attack Loxwood | Picture: Beth Chapman
Horsham YMCA attack Loxwood | Picture: Beth Chapman

From the corner the ball was worked back out to Chesworth who tried his luck with a left-foot shot from long distance that the keeper fumbled – and Charlie Parmiter was there to prod the ball across the goal-line for his sixth of the season.

The second half was fairly even with few clear-cut chances.

Alfie Loveridge had a chance to reduce the deficit for Hassocks on the hour when he found space in the box but Heath keeper Alfie Hadfield was off his line quickly to deny him.

In the 78th minute the visitors were awarded a controversial penalty.

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Three players, Kyle Sim and Hadfield for Heath and Loveridge for Hassock, challenged for the ball in the area but Sim cleared the ball a split second before all three crashed into each other, with Hadfield coming off the worse and needing treatment.

It looked accidental but the referee awarded the visitors a penalty which Phil Johnson slotted in.

Hadfield gathered the ball from the net and had two Hassocks players trying to wrestle the ball from his arms. The keeper shrugged them off, with one falling into the side netting – and the ref, after consulting with his assistant, showed Hadfield a straight red card.

Adrian Todd took over in goal but Heath held out and almost added a third when Brackpool headed against the bar.

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Heath manager Chris Simmons said: “It was great to finally get a game but it felt like starting the season over again.

"We took time to settle and not surprisingly were a bit rusty but the lads battled really well and I think we deserved the 2-0 lead.

"The penalty decision was farcical as it was a fantastic challenge by Kyle and the Hassocks forward came in with his feet high and left Alfie with stud marks. I also don’t think it was a red card and will be appealing.”

MoM: Andy Waddingham.

And here is Heath’s report from their 1-0 midweek loss at home to Eastbourne United.

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Heath Manager Chris Simmons made two changes to the side that beat Hassocks 2-1 on Saturday, Liam Matthews returned in goal for Alfie Hadfield and Mason Doughty started up front for the unavailable Renato Carvalho but he was still without the injured Sam Lemon and Matt Penfold.

Heath’s lowest crowd of the season, just 71, on a cold winter’s evening, witnessed a well below par performance from the Bears who just couldn’t get their flowing football together. The visitors meanwhile were well drilled, fought for every ball and restricted Heath to just a couple of chances, the best in the first half when Adrian Todd rifled a shot from distance that looked to be going in but was tipped over the crossbar by James Broadbent.

The deadlock was broken eight minutes into the second half, a long drop kick by Broadbent was flicked on by the head of an Eastbourne player, Kyle Sim attempted to clear the danger but misjudged the flight of the ball allowing Charlie Ball to run through on goal and the striker allowed the ball to bounce once before drilling home a right foot half-volley from 12 yards past Matthews to give his team the lead.

The Bears tried hard to reduce the deficit but just couldn’t get their game together, while the visitors used every trick in the book to maintain their lead by slowing the game down to frustrate the Heath players, resulting in a flurry of yellow cards for both sides and culminating in a second yellow and an early shower for Heath defender Kyle Sim.

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Minutes later the visitors were also down to ten when defender Ribwan Euba followed Sim back to the changing rooms after picking up his second caution of the match – ironically the first yellow 30 minutes earlier was for time wasting.

The final whistle was met by wild celebrations from the Eastbourne United contingent who became the first team this season to complete the double over Simmons’ side.

And here’s how Scott McCarthy viewed the same game for Hassocks…

Having gone three weeks without a competitive game, Hassocks could not have faced a much tougher return to Southern Combination League action than a trip to high-flying Broadbridge Heath.

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And the Bears showed why they have lost only three times and not dropped out of the Premier Division’s top four all season, resisting a spirited second half Hassocks performance to secure a 2-1 victory at the Countryside Stadium.

Speaking afterwards, James Westlake felt his side worthy of a draw.

His disappointment at coming away with nothing was however countenanced by the knowledge that Hassocks should pick up plenty of points through a manic February if they continue to play like this.

The Robins face eight fixtures crammed into four weeks which will have a huge say on how high up the table they finish in Westlake’s first year at the helm.

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To help his squad through the busy period, Westlake is hoping to add two new faces by the time Alfold arrive at the Beacon next Saturday.

Hassocks have also been boosted by the return of Alfie Loversidge after long-term injury which, to throw in a favourite football cliché, will be akin to a new signing.

Loversidge’s introduction from the bench at half time was his first action bar two runouts for the Under 23s since the 3-0 defeat away at Peacehaven & Telscombe on the opening day of the campaign.

He wasted little time in reminding everyone of the talents that made him one of the stars of last season, being central to most of the good stuff Hassocks did as they attempted to overturn the two goal lead Heath had taken just before half time.

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The Bears’ first came on 36 minutes when Ryan Brackpool met a pinpoint corner with a bullet near post header giving Joe Southam no chance of keeping it out.

Young Southam then fumbled a shot from the edge of the box which allowed the onrushing Charlie Parmiter to put the loose ball into the empty net three minutes before the break.

Those goals came something out of the blue. The opening half hour had very much looked like a game between two sides who had not played a massive amount of football since the turn of the year with no chances worthy of note being created.

The second half though was a different story. Hassocks were clearly fired up by whatever Westlake had said at the interval and with Loversidge on the pitch, they looked more much progressive in attacking areas.

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Loversidge’s first involvement came within 30 seconds of the restart.

Raging Joe Bull went on a charge down the left ended with a cross into the box which found Loversidge in acres of space.

The chance though had come too quickly off the bench for the young midfielder, whose rustiness was evidenced when he put his shot straight at Heath goalkeeper Alfie Hadfield.

Creating their first good opportunity of the match seemed to give Hassocks confidence and helped set the tone for the remainder of a half in which the Robins pushed and pushed.

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Two more changes helped to intensify the momentum Hassocks were building, Westlake introducing himself into the action along with assistant head coach Phil Gault.

Hassocks got the goal they deserved on 79 minutes. Loversidge embarked on a really good run into the box, where despite being clattered by a number of Heath defenders he managed to remain upright.

That was until Hadfield came rushing from his line with enough contact finally being made on Loversidge to convince referee Oliver Westgate to point to the spot.

Despite a delay in the taking of the penalty, Phil Johnson kept a cool head and slotted the ball under the body of Hadfield for his 14th goal of the season.

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Sensing an equaliser within their grasp and wanting the game to restart as soon as possible, several Hassocks players went to retrieve the ball which Hadfield had grabbed and was now refusing to let go off.

This resulted in handbags at dawn and a melee in the goal during which Hadfield pushed Westlake into the side netting, receiving a red card from Mr Westgate for his troubles.

Hassocks now had 10 minutes of plus stoppage time in which to find a leveller against a Heath outfit down to 10 men and with an outfield player having taken over between the sticks.

It very much looked like game on. Heath though to their credit used the red card in the right way, refocussing and battening down the hatches.

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The Robins did plenty of huffing and puffing but could find no way through in the time remaining, leaving them to return home empty handed.

Hassocks: Southam; Blake, Tighe, Bygraves, Bull; Minty, Williamson, Wilkes, Troak; Johnson, Harding.

Subs: Loversidge, J Westlake, Gault (used).

Horsham YMCA 3 Loxwood 1

SCFL premier

Horsham YMCA notched their first home league win in almost five months, avenging a 4-1 defeat at the hands of Loxwood earlier in the season.

The deserved victory brought a big smile to relieved YM manager Dean Carden, who told the County Times: “This was a much more professional performance.

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"Loxwood are an enthusiastic young team, sometimes leaving themselves open, and we took advantage of that. I hope this spurs us on to move up the table where we should be.”

Loxwood had two early corners and induced a fine save from Aaron Jeal, but YM began creating chances with Zac Bignall, Seckou Toure and Tom Tolfrey all testing the defence.

A goal looked imminent, and Josh Neathey obliged with an excellent solo effort, only Frazer Trigwell’s outstretched hand denying him an immediate second.

But YM soon doubled their lead when Tolfrey crashed home into the top right. Then Neathey scored again, coolly converting a cross.

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A Loxwood blast sailed over, but with two late first half corners, YM were in command.

Beginning the second half with a three-goal cushion, YM’s Sam Henderson lobbed a shot on to the roof of the net, before a corner was twice booted off the line. Next, Toure headed a Henderson cross to the keeper, ahead of sub Matt Whitehead nodding wide.

Two Loxwood corners followed, but YM were rampant, peppering the goal, until a late Loxwood penalty afforded compensation, with a YM free kick somehow kept out.

Reinvigorated YM welcome Midhurst & Easebourne to Gorings Mead on Saturday.

Horsham YMCA 3 Saltdean 3

SCFL premier

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This felt like a fair result at the end of a hard-fought contest. Saltdean created early chances and 14 minutes in, a YM clearance spun back into the goal for the lead.

YM promptly equalised, Josh Neathey scoring from a tight angle - and he soon netted again, only to be thwarted by the referee’s whistle.

On the hour, Saltdean regained the lead through Marley Amber, but from a second YM corner Neathey planted the ball into the net for 2-2.

Corby Ovenden put Saltdean in front again, only for a visitors’ own goal to draw YM level.

YM manager Dean Carden said: “It was ugly, but it was a point. Before Christmas we would have lost that game, so at least it was good to see us fighting back.”

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