‘One of the worst games’ – Broadbridge Heath beaten at Hythe Town in awful conditions

Broadbridge Heath lost 2-1 at Hythe Town in their latest Isthmian south east division outing – their fourth league game without a win.
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Chris Simmons’ men are 16th as they prepare for a trip on Tuesday night to Littlehampton Town, who are one place and one point behind them in the table.

The Bears’ furthest trip so far this season saw them travel to the Garden of England but it certainly wasn’t a day for gardening with freezing temperatures below zero, a sprinkling of snow on the ground and thickening fog reducing visibility – great for polar Bears but not for the Broadbridge Heath Bears and their supporters.

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The first half lacked any real quality with both teams struggling to come to terms with conditions and the heavy and uneven pitch preventing any free-flowing moves.

Broadbridge Heath in recent action at Haywards Heath | Picture: Ray TurnerBroadbridge Heath in recent action at Haywards Heath | Picture: Ray Turner
Broadbridge Heath in recent action at Haywards Heath | Picture: Ray Turner

The home side probably edged the first half on chances with Heath keeper Alfie Hadfield the busier of the two stoppers, but Heath did have the ball in the back of the net once when Sam Lemon broke through the Town defence and drilled a low right foot shot into the bottom corner – only for the referee’s assistant to rule it out for offside, and it remained 0-0 at the break.

That scoreline changed within a minute of the restart and with most supporters still in the warmth of the clubhouse, a long throw-in was launched deep into the Heath penalty area where Brad Peters rose above everyone to power a headed clearance away to the edge of the area, only for it to be headed straight back in to the danger area by Hythe’s Jack Steventon. Johan Caney-Bryan was quickest to react to turn the ball into the net from four yards.

The home side doubled their lead on 59 minutes when a corner from the right was played into the Heath six-yard box and the ball was missed by the Heath defenders on the near post and turned in through a crowd of players’ legs by Caney-Bryan for his second.

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Heath reduced the deficit with 15 minutes left from a corner of their own when unmarked Brad Peters headed home at the near post from a Louis Evans corner.

The Bears pushed everyone forward in search of an equaliser but the home defence stood firm and held out to winando move up to sixth place.

MOM: Louis Evans

Heath boss Chris Simmons said: “It was probably one of the worst games of football I have seen with BBH, the pitch was awful, the conditions nearly as bad and allowed no football to be played, it was a game of long lhrows, corners and free kicks and they did it better than us, again probably a draw was a fair result but that’s football.”

BBH: Hadfield, Peters, Kowalczyk, Penfold, Bromage, Brackpool, Evans, Mutongerwa, Aubrey, Lemon (Campbell 80), Lindsey (Doughty 66).

Littlehampton Town 2-1 Broadbridge Heath

Isthmian south east

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Having had this fixture postponed twice due to waterlogged pitches, it was a case of third time lucky as these sides met at The Sportsfield.

Heath got off to a great start pinning the home defence back and had the ball in the back of the net within a minute only for the goal to be disallowed with the assistant judging the ball had crossed the goal-line before it was cut back for Mason Doughty to score.

Minutes later a Louis Evans free kick from 25 yards was blocked by the defensive wall, the ball came out to Doughty again who had his left foot shot charged down before the Marigolds cleared the danger.

Another Heath attack resulted in a corner on the left which Evans played in under the crossbar – the ball again came out to Doughty who hit a right foot effort that deflected off a defender and went inches wide of the goal post with the resulting corner coming to nothing.

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Heath finally broke the deadlock with a flowing move that started with Ryan Brackpool collecting the ball in his own six-yard box, he advanced forward with the ball before picking out Adrian Todd wide on the right and from the halfway line the midfielder picked out the run of Evans in the middle of the park who ran through and dispatched a left foot shot past Lewis Broughton giving Heath a deserved lead after nine minutes play.

Heath continued to push forward with Ben Aubrey splitting the Marigolds defence on 18 minutes to let Evans through on goal once again but on this occasion the midfielders left foot shot was inches wide of the post with the keeper well beaten.

The home side gradually got into the game with Joss Short rifling a right foot shot from the edge of the penalty area which Heath keeper Alfie Hadfield tipped over the crossbar but it remained 0-1 to the Bears at the break.

The equalising goal came five minutes into the restart under somewhat controversial circumstances when the referee gave a free-kick to Littlehampton on the halfway line. While still explaining to the players about his decision, the free-kick was taken quickly behind his back by the home side, played up front to George Gaskyn who played it into the path of Dion Jarvis for a tap-in much to the annoyance of the Heath contingent – who felt the referee wasn’t ready to restart the game as he was still talking to players and should have called the play back.

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Heath responded well with Evans again breaking through the centre of midfield and rifling a shot from 25 yards that was well blocked by Broughton.

The game changed on 56 minutes when Adrian Todd went into a tackle winning the ball off a home player on the halfway line; Heath felt it looked a fair challenge but the match referee thought otherwise as he produced a red card from his back pocket and Heath were down to 10.

With the extra man it was the home side who produced the more chances with Hadfield making a fine save from a fierce shot coming in from the right but in general the Bears held firm until the 88th minute when Matt Astle’s cross from the left was acrobatically converted at the far post by Brad Dolaghan to win the game for his team.

A flurry of yellow cards were shown to players of both sides in the closing minutes with Short getting his second of the match to earn an early shower.

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Boss Chris Simmons said afterwards: “We are still missing 3-4 players through injury but that was the best we have started a game in a while and should really been out of sight before half-time.

"Unfortunately we started the second half poorly and then a poor/harsh decision by the referee has killed us and then it was just about trying to hold on to the end.”

Heath: Hadfield, Peters, Archeampong, Waddingham (Khallouqi 77), Bromage, Brackpool, Todd, Evans, Aubrey (Mutongerwa 66), Lemon (Lindsey 84), Doughty.

Roffey 1 North Greenford Utd 2

FA Vase third round

by Martin Read

In swirling freezing fog, doing justice to a scene from Macbeth, the game ended in Shakespearean tragedy for Roffey. Their burly defence kept visiting North Greenford United – 4th in the more senior Combined Counties Premiership - at bay before Roffey took the lead - only to concede two goals in the dying minutes, the second coming long into added time, allowing no opportunity to equalise.

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Roffey are top in the SCFL Division 1 and going well in cups, but in the end, somewhat depleted, the game, was cruelly snatched away from them. Greenford had five first half corners, yet were unable to make inroads after Roffey keeper Kieron Thorpe had blocked two early attacks. But, Roffey had their moments, Devon Fender just evading the goal amid end to end play, the score remaining 0-0 at the break.

During the interval Roffey Chairman Phil Gibbs said “We’re giving it our very best shot”, and that continued in the second half, when Roffey earned two corners, before Fender converted an excellent cross to put them ahead.

Two more Roffey corners followed – to Greenford’s one – then, with Roffey needing to retain possession to deny the visitors, Harvey Killeen got the ball, making no mistake, drawing Greenford level. With all still very much to play for, Killeen then twisted the knife, finding the net again at the death, disappointed Gibbs telling the County Times: “That was a big shame, we just couldn’t quite hold on.”

Once again, though, Roffey amply demonstrated they are a force to be reckoned with, more than worthy contenders to return to the Southern Combination premier division from which they were relegated at the end of last season.

On Saturday Roffey revert to league action with a visit to 8th-placed Worthing United.