Ten-man Haywards Heath Town made to work hard for cup victory

Nathan Cooper scored the winner. Picture by Grahame Lehkyj
Nathan Cooper scored the winner. Picture by Grahame Lehkyj

Haywards Heath Town progressed to the third round of the Sussex RUR Charity Cup thanks to a second half header from Nathan Cooper.

Bexhill however made Heath work hard for the win despite being two leagues below. Heath will now face Lancing FC on October 30.

Manager Shaun Saunders used the match to give minutes to players that have not featured much so far this season and several stood out with fine displays.

The first half had several talking points as Kyle Holden of Bexhill could have seen red in the fourth minute with a poor challenge but escaped with a yellow but the same leniency wasn't shown to Josh Heyburn in the Heath goal as he came out of his area to tackle and ended up handling the ball although Bexhill went on to put the ball in the back of the net, the referee had already decided to blow up and issue a red card on 19 minutes.

Sean Roddy donned the gloves and had a fantastic match between the sticks, before this point Luke Robinson went closest for Heath after cutting in his effort was cleared off the line, after the sending off Heath had to readjust and Roddy had to be alert to make several good stops from distance while Heath were firing blanks and not troubling the Bexhill number one.

With the scores all square at half time it was very much a level playing field with Heath reduced on numbers, but it was Heath who controlled the play well and had the best opportunity of the game on 52 minutes as the Bexhill defender handled the ball in the box. Max Miller stepped up but the keeper guessed correctly and made the save to his right.

Roddy was called into action on 60 minutes tipping over a fine effort from distance and it was shortly after this that Heath took the lead in the match, a Max Miller corner was met perfectly by Nathan Cooper who powered his header past the keeper and covering defender on the line with 64 minutes played.

Heath used up all three substitutions as they looked to see out the remainder of the match with no more casualties. Bexhill pushed men forwards in search of the equaliser in the final 10 minutes but two excellent stops by Roddy one low to his left that he held onto brilliantly and the other a reaction stop with his feet as the ball came through the crowd kept Heath's noses in front.