Haywards Heath Town will be in the second round of the FA Vase after Kane Louis’ second half strike secured a 1-0 win over fellow SCFL side Wick FC.
Heath lined up with James Shaw in goal, across the back Nathan Cooper skippered the side with Josh Spinks partnering him, completing the back four was Luc Doherty and Jamie Weston.
In midfield both Callum Saunders and Max Miller provided width with George Hayward and Karly Akehurst in the middle. Up front were Ryan Warwick and Trevor McCreadie.
On the bench was Kane Louis, Alfie Rogers, Tom Graves and Bailie Rogers.
The hosts started the game on the front foot and almost caught Heath cold as a swift attack down the left and cross in was met with a diving header the James Shaw had to dive to his left to keep out.
This early scare kicked Heath into life and for the next 44 minutes Heath all but camped inside the Wick half but with the home side set with five across the back Heath would often hit that brick wall in and around the box.
McCreadie saw his header go wide on six minutes before Max Mill turned in a Saunders cross on eight minutes only for the joy to turn to disappointment as the flag had been raised for offside.
The defence were holding firm as several crosses were well cleared and Heath kept at arm’s length. On 27 minutes Heath finally got the ball past the Wick keeper but Saunders header from Hayward's cross hit the post before being cleared by the defender.
As the half time break drew nearer both McCreadie and Hayward saw shots well charged down and blocked and the former saw his header drift just wide.
Heath started the second half with real urgency, Warwick had been replaced by Louis due to a knock and the sub would turn into a real match winner.
Miller drew an early save from the Wick keeper who did well to hold on to the forwards strike.
The deadlock was finally broken on 47 minutes, some great play from Saunders saw him lay the ball into the path of Louis who made some space in the box before firing the ball into the top corner.
Heath almost doubled their lead just 2 minutes later after a blocked shot fell kindly to Saunders but his strike was again well saved at close range and the follow up couldn’t be forced in.
Cooper went close to adding to his goals this season as he rose highest to meet Saunders free kick but his header rattled off the top of the cross bar.
Josh Spinks then saw a strike well blocked and cleared before Wick went into their best spell of the game.
With 57 minutes played James Shaw miss-judged the flight of the ball and the ball back across the Heath box was headed towards goal by George Hayward positioned himself well to clear off the line.
James Shaw was then called into action to save well from the advancing Wick side before minutes later watching a strike from distance go wide.
Heath then re took control but first Saunders’ shot was deflected wide for a Heath corner, It was the forward causing many problem for the host as he linked up with Kane Louis on more than one occasion. Saunders then called the keeper into action with yet another smart save on 67 minutes.
Hayward could only head over on 68 minutes before McCreadie had a great chance breaking free but again the keeper did really well getting down low to his right to stop the strike.
Spinks saw his strike from distance just clear the bar on 74 minutes. The game then became stop start as both side conceded silly free kicks that also saw both Saunders and Akehurst go into the referees note book.
As time started to run out Heath introduced Bailie Rogers for Miller.
The final chances of the game came in the 90th minutes and the Wick keeper was again called into action to make a double save, Saunders first strike was too hot to hold and the follow up again from Saunders was this time saved well down low.
Heath Man Of The Match – Karly Akehurst - Dominating man in the middle who plays a no nonsense game but at the same time dictates the tempo.
Afterwards manager Shaun Saunders said: “We really dominated the game for long spells and their keeper really stood out for them but they also created chances so I’m delighted we had such a good team performance today kept a clean sheet and are through to the next round where hopefully we will get our first home tie in the FA Vase.”
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