Haywards Heath 3 Crawley Down Gatwick 0

Oakwood V Crawley Down Gatwick (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-151025-195158008
Oakwood V Crawley Down Gatwick (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-151025-195158008

Southern Combination Division 1 League Cup Third Round

On paper it was always going to be a tough call, and so it proved to be as the Anvils and the Heath locked horns and kicked off in conditions not unlike the film Ice Station Zebra.

Anvils were still light in playing numbers with flankmen Dave Houlders and Luke Trotter plus, defenders Blair Cooney and Hass Shurmahi, plus utility man Harry Lowe all still on the injury list.

Crawley Down opened early with Ben Brooker driving just past the post, just after another neat build up led to midfielder Josh Brown’s effort being taken by Heath keeper Simon Lehkyj, on 12 minutes a Sam Cane cross found Mike Spence who could only find Lehkji again.

For the Blues came their first corner through James Weston which was headed into the arms of Anvil keeper Martin Hopkins, and another shot by Weston that was wide.

Play continued to be fought out in midfield, with both defences not adverse to the odd punt upfield, which at times did leave the opposing defenders scrambling back, on 20 minutes a further corner by Weston was headed over by Tom Graves, plus another attack by Max Miller on the right had Anvil keeper Hopkins rushing out to nullify his attempted cross, further Heath pressure followed but fine defending by James day and Steve Dixon kept them at bay, that was until the 30th when Heath’s Rob O’Toole had a shot was cleared only as far as Callum Saunders who applied the finishing touch.

Further excursions for the Anvils came from Day heading over from a Cane corner, and a Sonny Barton free-kick sailing straight into Lehkyj’s arms, as the half ended with the Heath still mainly in control.

Within minutes of the restart, Heath went further in front, when from an early cross the ball appeared to have gone in off an Anvil defender according to reports after.

Further Heath attacks followed with a combination of Miller and O’Toole having their final shots hacked away, as the home side turned up the volume.

For the Anvils, another Barton free-kick led to Lee Thomas heading onto the top netting, and on the hour another Day free-kick being cleared, at that point changes on the Anvil bench bought on Myles Pitt and Oli Leslie for Cane and Josh Brown no doubt in an attempt to get back into the match, and indeed started to have more of the play, but chances that came failed to ruffle the Heath backline, and come 78 minutes the final hammer-blow came with a Heath player being bought down in the box resulting in O’Toole supplying the coup de grace and entry into the semi-finals.

Crawley Down: Martin Hopkins, Sonny Barton, James Lovett, Andy Goodwin, Steve Dixon, James Day, Mike Spence, Josh Brown (Myles Pitt), Ben Brooker, Sam Cane (Oli Leslie), Lee Thomas.

Attendance: 71