Haywards Heath Town pick up first home point of the season - full match report

Haywards Heath Town picked up their first home point of the season against a well-drilled Ashford Utd side.

Callum Saunders pokes the ball home to open the scoring. Picture by Grahame Lehkyj
Callum Saunders pokes the ball home to open the scoring. Picture by Grahame Lehkyj

Heath were made to work hard to pick up their first home point of the season as they made it three consecutive draws in the league

Ashford showed their class from the outset as Heath struggled to get going and Josh Heyburn knew he would be in for a busy day.

Heyburn made his first of many contributions in the 9th minute as he did brilliantly from point blank range to steer the bar over the crossbar.

Callum Saunders pokes the ball home to open the scoring. Picture by Grahame Lehkyj

Ashford continued the pressure in all areas of the pitch restricting Heath to counter attacking football.

Callum Saunders picked up the only card of the game as he went down under the challenge of the defender, it looked as if he was tripped as he danced into the box but the referee saw the infringement the other was and gave yellow for simulation to the surprise of most.

Ashford continued to look for the opening goal but Heyburn again made a smart stop to his left and then just minutes later was off his line to save at the feet of the striker.

On 31 minutes some what against the run of play Melford Simpson flicked on a George Brown throw and Callum Saunders steered the ball into the back of the net on 31 minutes to give Heath the lead and grab his third goal of the season.

Ashford looked to respond but great defending at the back from Sean Roddy and Josh Spinks kept the efforts from distance that didn't trouble Heyburn.

Heath had a great chance just before the break but Callum Saunders well struck shot was equalled by the firm hands of Sam Mott and the loose ball fell kindly for the defence who were able to clear.

The second half saw both side press, Byron Napper who is looking more and more at home in a Heath jersey saw a good strike well blocked and then an even better effort from George Brown needed another body in the way.

At the other end Heyburn was again to deny the attacks of the visitors with a fine save down low and the follow up effort being blocked by a determined Heath defence.

Max Miller saw a speculative effort from distance fall into the back peddling keepers arms and then Ashford saw another effort well blocked and chance from distance drift wide.

The pressure did finally tell when on 63 minutes Jordan Johnson found some space inside the Heath area and via a deflection or two powered the ball into the bottom corner.

The final 20 minutes saw both sides go for the win with some end to end football, Karly Akehurt brought out the best in Mott as his fierce free kick was dipping under the bar before a full stretch tip over from the keeper.

Nathan Cooper replaced George Brown and Kane Louis came on for Max Miller for some fresh legs.

Sean Roddy could only hit the wall with his free kick and a great chance for Heath saw Melford Simpson just inches away from getting on the end of George Fenton's brilliant cross.

Ashford could have taken all the points with three minutes remaining but again found Josh Heyburn in fine form saving low down and gathering the ball just before the attacker.

Afterwards manager Shaun Saunders said: "I'm delighted to take a point from today's game, I feel they are the best side we have played and Josh was outstanding in goal. We again looked nervous at times but for many of the lads this is a learning curve and it won't take much to turn these draws into wins."