Broadbridge Heath beaten by Eastbourne United in the battle of the unbeaten runs

Broadbridge Heath's eight-game unbeaten run in the SCFL Premier came to an end on Saturday after a narrow 2-1 home defeat to Eastbourne United - who extend their own unbeaten run in the division to 13 matches.
Lewis Croal netted in Broadbridge Heath's defeat to Eastbourne United. Picture by Croal netted in Broadbridge Heath's defeat to Eastbourne United. Picture by
Lewis Croal netted in Broadbridge Heath's defeat to Eastbourne United. Picture by

The visitors started well, and had a lot of possession, but couldn’t break down the solid Heath defence marshalled by the experienced Mark Zydonik.

But despite the pressure it was Heath who had the first real goal scoring opportunity of the match in the 12th minute. Alfie Jones received the ball from Conor Baston eight yards from goal, turned his marker and got off a shot that lacked pace and was gathered easily by the Eastbourne keeper.

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The opening goal was scored in the 17th minute when Kyle Sim launched the ball from a throw in his own half. The Eastbourne defender mistimed his header and only managed to flick the ball straight into the path of Lewis Croal.

The forward allowed the ball to bounce once before smashing a shot from 12 yards into the bottom left corner of the net.

Midway through the second half an Eastbourne United cross from the right struck Zydonik in the box. An appeal for handball was made by the Eastbourne player and the assistant linesman acknowledged by raising his flag.

After consulting with the referee a penalty kick was awarded and Max Thompson stepped up to convert the kick.

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Heath had a great chance to regain the lead five minutes later. Jamie Taylor played a lovely pass across the face of goal but Baston missed his shot and Mason Doughty stabbed the ball wide of target.

The winning goal was scored in the 78th minute. A poor ball forward from defence was intercepted by a defender and played out wide on the left to Tigana Quebe.

Quebe skipped past two challenges before crossing the ball from the touchline for Thompson to head home out of Heath keeper Liam Matthews' reach.

In the closing minutes a late tackle on Taylor right in front of the Eastbourne dugout resulted in a red card being shown to United’s Alfie Headland.

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Heath had a couple of chances to draw level in the closing stages but nothing that troubled the United keeper too much.

The Bears remain in seventh place and look forward to welcoming Pagham to the Countryside Stadium on Saturday, December 18.

Broadbridge Heath manager Chris Simmons said: "We didn’t play as well as we have done in recent games but when we went 1-0 up, I never saw them breaking us down apart from maybe a set piece or a mistake.

"Unfortunately it was a poor decision that cost us today. Looking back at the video of the game the ball clearly doesn’t hit Zyd[onik]’s arm and it is very questionable if its even in the box.

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"That changes the whole swing of the game, It’s a shame we don’t have VAR!

"That being said, Eastbourne United were a very good side and a draw probably would have been a fair result in the end.

"[We] now [look forward to] another tough game against Pagham."

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