Crawley Down Gatwick 3, Haywards Heath Town 4: Anvils miss out in seven-goal thriller with title chasers

Action from Saturday's game. Picture by Grahame Lehkyj
Action from Saturday's game. Picture by Grahame Lehkyj

An exciting, feisty encounter between these two local rivals took place on a sunny spring like afternoon before a goodish ‘gate’ of just under 100, previous results have always been tight, and Saturday's proved to be no different.

The Anvils as is their want, got off to an early lead, when an early Williams Peauroux free kick on four minutes, found the head of centreback Marc Pelling whom found space to rise and nod home the Anvil opener.

Heath struck back but the Anvils rearguard held firm, until the 28th minute when attacking fullback Luke Doherty struck, after his initial shot had been pushed out by Greaves. 1-1.

For the Anvils it looked like being a long afternoon, as they struggled to get moving, with just a freekick and corner from Dan Sullivan coming to nothing, frustration beginning to show with Peauroux being carded on 35, finally just to rub further salt into the Anvil wound, a horrible defensive muddle on 38, with a misplaced pass leading to apparently a confirmed OG, to put the beleaguered Anvils further behind at 2-1, but not before a last gasp corner from Sullivan clipped the top of the bar.

For the second half with the Anvils kicking toward the Kop End, hopes were not entirely dismissed, but yet again the Anvils were caught cold on 48, when Doherty out right somehow from an acute angle squeezed the ball home, to make it 3-1 Heath.

But the Anvils this season have incorporated a tougher and steely edge to their game, and gradually fought their way back into the game, with Pelling going close with another header, on 50 salvation when a free kick by Sullivan on the edge of the box led to keeper James allowing the ball to slip thro his hands and over the line to make the scoreline that bit closer. 3-2.

Just after the goal Oli Leslie entered the fray to ‘beef up’ the attack as the Heath appeared to be tiring in this end to end encounter, further crosses from Sam Cane and Sullivan led to last ditch defending, on 65 sub Tom Gannon replaced Lee Thomas, but again the pendulum swung against the Anvils when on 70 with Miller picking up a cross-field ball and from well outside the box crashed the ball home to give the Heath a two goal cushion at 4-2. But yet again the game swung, this time the Anvils way, when on 75 another free kick led to another melee in the Heath box which led to Pelling getting on the end to nod home, whilst keeper James having an eventful first game taking a knock in the process, leaving the score at 4-3 Heath, and still 15 to go.

Both goals were coming under attack and right at the death keeper James having to beat out a point blank shot to keep his side in the hunt, as the final whistle blew.

Team: 1. Andy Greaves 2. Sonny Barton 3. Josh Martin ( Oli Leslie ) 4. Williams Peauroux 5. Marc Pelling 6. Blair Cooney 7. Dan Sullivan 8. Michael Belli 9. Sam Cane 10. Mike Spence 11. Lee Thomas ( Tom Gannon ).