Second-placed Haywards Heath Town strolled to an 8-0 win against bottom-club Hailsham Town at Hanbury Park tonight (Tuesday).
It looked like it could be a one-sided affair from the start and it was no surprise when Heath took the lead on five minutes.
Callum Saunders was fouled on the edge of the box and Jamie Weston's brilliant free-kick found Nathan Cooper at the far post who had the easiest tasks of heading home.
Heath were attacking with such pace and verve you felt for the Hailsham defenders. And with 10 minutes gone it could easily have been 4-0.
But Lee Daubeney in the visitor's goal was on good form and did well to deny Max Miller, Saunders and Cooper.
Hailsham heads were not dropping and on 17 minutes they had a chance to equalise when Rhys Anderson's free kick found Adam Parsons at the far post but he could not keep his header down and Simon Lehkyj was untested.
But on 19 minutes Hailsham again paid the price for giving away a silly free kick in a dangerous position.
This time Adam Daubeney received a yellow for his hard tackle on Saunders. Saunders took the free kick this time and Lee Daubeney made) a bit of a mess of an attempted punch and Tom Graves was on hand to score from close range.
Kane Louis had the ball in the back of the net two minutes later but it was ruled out for offside.
It looked as if Cooper was going to get his second in the 27th minute but his shot was well blocked on the line and cleared.
And it was another free kick which saw Heath go 3-0 up on 36 minutes. This time Max Miller was fouled. much to the bemusement of the Hailsham team and bench. But again Weston whipped the ball in and this time the ball was turned into his own net by a Hailsham defender.
Saunders and Weston both had good chances to make it 4-0 but they couldn't find the target. And just when Hailsham thought it couldn't get any worse, Shearing picked up a second yellow card for a foul on Naim Rouane just on the stroke of half time.
Shaun Saunders made two changes at half time, bringing on Karl Akehurst and Wade Eason for Bailie Rogers and Luc Doherty.
It was always going to be a case of damage limitation for Hailsham in the second period but they couldn't have a worse start when Miller made an easy chance look difficult on 46 minutes before Westom made it 5-0 on 52 minutes. In between the goals Hailsham had their first shot in anger as Simon Lehkyj was forced into a good save by Hailsham skipper Sam Divall.
Hailsham did not give up though and Lehkyj was called into action a couple of times when tested by Rhys Anderson and Parsons but the Heath keeper never looked in any real trouble.
But that is all they could muster as Heath searched for more goals. Saunders forced a good save from Daubeney in the 80th minute and from the resulting corner Heath thought they had their sixth, but again it was disallowed.
They did get that elusive sixth goal on 87 minutes and it was Saunders who finally got on the scoresheet when he followed up from close range a save from Daubeney before Eason strolled round Daubeney and walked the ball into an empty net a minute later.
Miller then finished off the scoring after Weston's cross was flicked on.
Heath travel to Pagham on Saturday while Hailsham host Wick.
Heath: Lehkyj, Doherty (Akehurst), B. Rogers (Eason), Hayward, Cooper, Graves, Saunders, Rouane (capt) (A. Rogers), Miller, Louis, Weston. Subs: Akehurst, Eason, Warwick, Shaw, Rogers.
Hailsham: L. Daubeney, Findon, Le Beau, Parsons, Markham, A. Daubeney (Flood), Goldsmith (Taylor), Anderson, Divall (capt), Shearing, Sarjue (Osbourne). Sub: Flood, Osbourne, Taylor, Anderson, Levett.
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