Broadbridge Heath in pole position in title race – Horsham YMCA lads reach cup final

Broadbridge Heath are closing in on the SCFL premier division title – needing two wins from their final three games to clinch the silverware. Meanwhile Horsham YMCA under-23s are cup finalists after winning a big semi-final.
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Broadbridge Heath 3 AFC Uckfield 1

SCFL premier

This was the third meeting between the two sides this season with Heath having won the previous two encounters 3-1 and 5-0 respectively.

Broadbridge Heath have been on a fine run of form - and will win the SCFL title if they win two of their last three games | Picture: Joe BaldockBroadbridge Heath have been on a fine run of form - and will win the SCFL title if they win two of their last three games | Picture: Joe Baldock
Broadbridge Heath have been on a fine run of form - and will win the SCFL title if they win two of their last three games | Picture: Joe Baldock

But there is no such thing as an easy game in this division, and the Oakmen came to the BodyMould Community Stadium hoping to inflict a first defeat on the Bears in 11 matches.

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It was an unusually slow start for the Bears who, despite having the lion’s share of possession, just couldn’t break through the visitor’s defence.

And, in Uckfield’s first foray into the Heath final third on 10 minutes, a challenge by Bears skipper Ryan Brackpool on Uckers’ Ellison Wright right on the edge of the 18-yard box was deemed to be inside by the assistant referee.

A penalty kick was awarded which Wright converted.

Horsham YMCA in recent action v Eastbourne Town | Picture: Beth ChapmanHorsham YMCA in recent action v Eastbourne Town | Picture: Beth Chapman
Horsham YMCA in recent action v Eastbourne Town | Picture: Beth Chapman

Heath responded well with Jack Frankland shooting over the bar from long-distance, Louis Evans having his shot saved by the Uckfield keeper and Callum Chesworth putting a right-foot effort just wide of the post – but it remained 1-0 to the visitors at the break.

Some strong words at half-time seemed to do the trick as the Bears came out far more determined at the start of the second period, putting the Uckfield defence under a lot of pressure.

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And they were finally rewarded in the 63rd minute. Callum Chesworth advanced down the left flank with pace, drove towards the goal and struck a right-footed shot low into the bottom corner to bring the score level.

Heath continued to push forward and deservedly added a second when Jamie Chesworth’s corner from the right was headed into the corner of the net by Bradley Peters – his third goal in two games.

Five minutes later and, from another Jamie Chesworth free-kick, Peters arrived at the far post to score with his right foot and make it 3-1.

This was a great second half turn-around for the Bears coming back from 0-1 down and extending that unbeaten run to 12 games.

Man of the match went to Peters.

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Heath boss Chris Simmon said: “We looked a bit nervy first half and didn’t pass the ball fast enough.

"We had lots of possession and in the end it could have been more comfortable.”

On Monday the Bears were denied the chance to make it 13 unbeaten when their planned visit to Midhurst & Easebourne was rained off.

Simmons said: “Obviously it was very frustrating to do all the preparation and for everyone to get to Midhurst for it to then be called off.

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"But these things happen and it certainly wasn’t Midhurst’s or the officials’ fault.

"Probably a bigger pain for us is that Midhurst are already behind with fixtures meaning we have to squeeze the game in on a Thursday night even though we are up to date – so we get punished for something that is totally out of our hands.”

Broadbridge Heath are at home to Crowborough on Saturday.

Horsham YMCA 2 Little Common 0

SCFL premier

This was a tall order for Horsham YMCA’s young team against Little Common, one place above in the table and with a big height advantage.

But, contradicting their disappointing home record, YM notched a well-deserved clean sheet win.

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One minute in LC’s Adam Smith was lucky to get away with a yellow card for a heavy tackle that ended YM’s Josh Neathey’s participation.

YM were soon in action, Sekou Toure coming close before a flying header from Harry Law crashed in, only to be ruled offside.

Within a minute YM took the lead through Lewis Shivnarain. LC responded with a corner, Aaron Jeal producing the first of a number of excellent saves.

Sam Cruttwell hooked just past the goal and Sam Henderson unleashed a long shot.

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Lewis Hole’s flying header skimmed past the YM net – then an excellent YM build-up opened the defence for Zac Bignell to give the hosts a 2-0 cushion.

The visitors started strongly after the break, with Freddie Warren testing the defence, but with action switching to the other end, LC keeper Matt Cruttwell had to be at his best to deny Toure.

It took a brave dash from Jeal to keep thrusting LC at bay.

Happy YM manager Dean Carden told the County Times: “That was a great win against a more experienced side – at the beginning of the season they ended our six-game winning streak in the league and cup, so it’s nice to get one back at them. We need to believe in ourselves.”


Horsham YMCA U23s 3 Mile Oak U23s 1

SCFA U23 Cup

Horsham YMCA under-23s showed their seniors the way, breezing through to the final of their League Cup with a well-deserved 3-1 win against physically bigger visitors Mile Oak.

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Delighted manager Paul Brown told the County Times: “We knew this was going to be tough so we prepared well and stuck to our game plan.

"I’m very proud because we had a group of U18s out there, and it was a very big night for them.

"Dean Carden marshalled the defence, keeping them calm at the back, (four seniors being permitted per side) and we scored three good goals, so I couldn’t be happier!”

After a period of even play, each side earning a corner, 20 minutes in, Zac Bignell crossed to Lewis Shivnarain, who slotted home from close range to give YM the lead.

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Four further corners followed – three to YM, but, despite efforts from Mile Oak’s Chris Whitington and Noah Andrews, the score remained 1-0 at the break.

Mile Oak resumed strongly with two corners, but YM soon doubled their lead when Shivnarain’s supply was flicked on by Luke Roberts for Bignell to strike home at the back post.

YM might have put the result beyond doubt, only for Shivanarain to shoot wide, then, from a potential 3-0 advantage, the score became 2-1 when Mile Oak pounced on a loose ball for Matt Thompson to tap in. Roberts burst through, but, from a very tight angle, could only hit the upright.

With Mile Oak pressing hard to equalise at the death, their keeper Xhemal Bako ran up field to join the attack, but YM took possession and Sam Henderson ran through to fire a long range strike into the vacant goal well into added minutes.

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With Hastings to play East Grinstead in the other semi, the final is scheduled for April 20 - the venue has yet to be announced.

Roffey FC’s remarkable efforts to climb off the bottom of the SCFL premier got another boost when they won 2-1 at Bexhill on Saturday.

They trailed 1-0 but late goals by Joao Andrade and Damien Fortune clinched a win that left them seven points off safety. They hosted Peacehaven last night.


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