Haywards Heath Town had to work hard to break down a resilient Mile Oak side and keep their chance of the double alive.
After a break of 13 days Manager Shaun Saunders starting line was, Simon Lehkyj in goal, a back line of Bailie Rogers, Nathan Cooper, Josh Bryant and Scott Marshall. Carl Dunk captained the side and was partnered by Ryan Warwick in the middle.
Afterwards manager Shaun Saunders said: “We struggled to break a solid Mile Oak side down this evening but the ultimate goal was achieved and we are through to the final which the management and players are all really pleased about.”
Heath started the match well but it was clear that Mile Oak had set themselves a task to contain Heath and play on the break.
Although controlling possession Heath really struggled to make many clear cut chances and with Mile Oak content on sitting deep and absorbing the Heath pressure it made for an uneventful half.
The first real chance of the game came on 26 minutes with Scot Marshall releasing Callum Saunders his cut back found its way to Freddie Barker but he saw his shot hacked clear by the covering defender.
At the other end Mile Oak’s best chance of the half came on 32 minutes when the striker rode several challenges but his strike was cleared as Bailie Rogers slid in at the near post.
The second half played out much the same as the first with Heath struggling to find a way through the Mile Oak side. Ryan Warwick was unlucky on 54 minutes as his strike from 40 yards almost caught the mile Oak keeper out but the strike just cleared the cross bar.
Jamie Weston replaced Freddie Barker on 66 minutes which then pushed Max Miller up front in a more comfortable position with Jamie Weston slotting in wide. Heath continued to battle and with it came a yellow card for the hard working Ryan Warwick.
On 76 minutes Heath finally made the break through, Rob O’Toole was released over the top, as he bared down on goal he saw his strike well saved by the Mile Oak keeper but the ball was only parried across goal and Max Miller was on hand to slide the ball home ahead of the covering defender.
With the clock running down Simon Lehkyj was called into action for his first real save of the evening as Mile Oak tried to level things up but he got down well and held on to the strike.
As the clock hit 90 minutes Heath finally secured their place in the final, Ryan Warwick crossed and Max Miller found space away from his marker to head home 6 yards out.
Man Of The Match – Scott Marshall – Good all-round performance at the back and got forward to support too.
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