Haywards Heath Town 'in a position few expected to see them in' after league and cup successes

Karly Akehurst celebrates the first of his two goals in their 4-0 away win over Little Common in the Sussex Senior Cup last night. All pictures by Grahame Lehkyj.
Karly Akehurst celebrates the first of his two goals in their 4-0 away win over Little Common in the Sussex Senior Cup last night. All pictures by Grahame Lehkyj.

Haywards Heath Town are in a place where few expected to see them according to Shaun Saunders, as the SCFL Premier Division champions sit just three goals off the Bostik South East play-off spots.

On Saturday the Blues picked up an emphatic 4-1 away win over third-from-bottom Greenwich Borough that saw them join the race for the play-offs, and continue their dream debut season at Step 8.

Alex Laing has an attempt on the Little Common goal.

Alex Laing has an attempt on the Little Common goal.

Despite Heath's superb displays, Saunders was keen to stress that his side are still more concerned about a relegation battle than a possible promotion push.

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He said: "I wouldn't say we've punched above our weight as we've more than matched sides but we're in a position where few people expected to see us in at the start of the season.

"We also know that two or three bad results can see you drop like a brick so my mantra to the players is 'Can we go another day?'

"We're still looking behind us because we want to make sure that we've got enough points on the board to ensure that we're not looking over our shoulder. That's why the Greenwich result was massive for us because they're down there.

Celebrations after Callum Saunders' goal.

Celebrations after Callum Saunders' goal.

"I was really pleased that we widened the gap between us and the bottom two as it is. We'll keep trying to get points on the board and see how far we can run."

Haywards Heath also notched up a 4-0 away win over Little Common last night to advance to the quarter-finals of the Sussex Senior Cup. Saunders was naturally delighted to make it through to the next round but felt that Heath weren't at their recent best.

He added: "We've been putting a shift in and we've got a good team spirit and results are reflective of that. I'd say we weren't at our best but a clean sheet and a 4-0 at this stage of the Senior Cup is massive for us.

"I would have taken a 1-0. As long as you win and get through that's all that counts."

Alusine Bangura celebrates his goal.

Alusine Bangura celebrates his goal.

The Blues are currently on a six-match unbeaten run in all competitions, with their last defeat coming on Saturday, November 3 in the league against runaway leaders Cray Wanderers.

In this period, Heath have plundered 10 goals in three games but Saunders believes that his team should have even more goals if it weren't for some wayward finishing.

He continued: "It's funny because the stats look great but I can't tell you many how many chances we've missed also. I've been moaning at the players about being a bit more clinical in front of goal.

"In the last couple of games we've missed some chances that I'd expect the players to do a lot better from but we're creating chances all the time. We've just got to concentrate on getting our scoring ratio up a bit.

"We've had some tough games and they're still coming thick and fast so they don't get any easier. That's my challenge to the players though - let's see how far we can run with it."