A disappointing performance sees Heath exit the FA Vase to Tadley Calleva in the 2nd Round on a day that all but one Sussex sides exited the FA Vase.
Heath made the 2 hour drive to Hampshire with a good coach full in the hope of continuing their good form, Manager Shaun Saunders made several changes from last week’s victory against Midhurst and Easebourne. Simon Lehkyj again started in goal, Mike Gardner came back in at full back alongside Tom Graves, Josh Bryant and Bailie Rogers in the back line. The midfield remained unchanged from the previous week with Callum Saunders and Jamie Weston playing wide with Ryan Warwick and Carl Dunk who skippered the side in the middle. Rob O’Toole continued to lead the line with Freddie Barker making his return after injury. Heath once again had a strong bench with Nathen Cooper returning to fitness included alongside Scott Marshall, Jordan Harris, Max Miller and Danny Turner.
Heath started brightly and after just 2 minutes Jamie Weston found some space but could only find the side netting. Heath continued to look the better side but chances for either side were at a premium with Heath struggling to find that final ball and Tadley shooting from distance but without threatening Simon Lehkyj’s goal. Carl Dunk found the target from distance but the keeper saved comfortably.
On 20 minutes Callum Saunders made some space on the right but his cross was narrowly missed by Rob O’Toole oat the far post as he slid in.
On 23 minutes Tadley had their best chance of the game so far as a free kick was well met by the header drifted wide.
This chance gave the hosts a lift and on 30 minutes they opened the scoring, a corner was well delivered and headed powerfully home giving Simon Lehkyj no chance.
Heath’s problems were soon doubled as on 40 minutes the Tadley midfielder picked up the ball on the half way line and jinked past several loose tackles before striking from 20 yards and finding the corner past the despairing dive of Simon Lehkyj.
On the stroke of half time Heath almost pulled a goal back when Jamie Weston found Callum Saunders at the far post but his first time strike lacked power and the keeper gathered easily.
Heath started the 2nd half well and looked to take the game to Tadley knowing the next goal would be key but for all the good movement Heath could not find a way through. Freddie Barker continued to work hard but the Tadley back line held firm and limited any opportunity.
On 51 minutes Heath had Simon Lehkyj to thank for keeping the game at 2-0 as Tadley soaked up the pressure and started to play on the break a swift move down the left then saw the ball switched to the right and the striker looked odds on to score before Simon Lehkyj got all the way across his goal to save brilliantly with his feet.
Tadley’s play on the break was starting to cause Heath issues and just 2 minutes later a ball flashed across goal and out for a goal kick.
Heath then worked hard to get back into the game with Ryan Warwick, Jamie Weston and both failing to find the target before Callum Saunders saw his shot saved by the Tadley Keeper.
On 66 minutes Heath made a double substitution with Max Miller replacing Freddie Barker and Scott Marshall coming on for Ryan Warwick.
On 74 minutes it was effectively game over as Tadley swiftly broke again and after cutting in the wide player found the bottom corner past Simon Lehkyj.
It was game set and match on 76 minutes and a goal to wrap up any game, a ball in from the left was expertly dispatched with a text book overhead kick that left Simon Lehkyj rooted.
Heath brought on Danny Turner for the final 13 minutes for full back Bailie Rogers but even the lively winger struggled to break down a resolute Tadley back line.
As the game drew to a close Heath had one final chance to grab a consolation as Carl Dunk’s free kick found Tom Graves 8 yards out but his strike planted straight into the midriff of the Tadley Keeper and summed up Heath’s FA Vase day.
Full Time Tadley Calleva 4-0 Heath
Disappointing day for Heath who never really got going but full credit to their host who deservedly won and good luck in the next round of the FA Vase.
Man of the Match – Not awarded
Afterwards manager Shaun Saunders said “I’m really disappointed that as a group we failed today, our desire wasn’t there and we got exactly what we deserved which was nothing but we now need to pick ourselves up and react positively for a huge game on Tuesday night at Steyning.”
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