The second meeting in 4-days between the two clubs with the Hillians having won the previous encounter in the Sussex Transport Senior Cup by 5-4 on penalties after the two sides were level at 2-2 after 90 minutes.
For the game Heath manager Chris Simmons made five changes to the starting line-up with Alfie Hadfield replacing goalkeeper Liam Matthews who picked up a back injury in midweek, Jack Frankland also missed the game through injury having damaged knee ligaments in the same game, while Adrian Todd and Louis Evans both returned after missing the midweek fixture and new signing Ben Aubrey made his club debut for the Bears.
And Aubrey was in action straight away when within minutes of the start his goal-bound header from a Jamie Chesworth’s left wing cross was deflected wide and out for a corner. While at the other end a left foot shot from Hillians striker Dan Perry was gathered comfortably by Hadfield.
The Heath keeper, making his first appearance since breaking his elbow at Eastbourne United almost 12 months previously, was in action again on 11 minutes when Mo Jammeh’s right wing cross to the far post was met by the head of Rob O’Toole but Hadfield stuck out his left hand to save the goal attempt and then pounced on the loose ball.
A Hillians attack down the left flank on 27th minutes ended with the ball played into O’Toole some 8 yards from goal and the striker went tumbling to the ground under a challenge from the Heath skipper Ryan Brackpool but the Match Referee was ideally placed to waive away the penalty claims. Then, 9 minutes later it was the home supporters calling for a penalty when Aubrey went crashing to the ground under a challenge by Nic D’Arienzo but once again the official in black remained unmoved.
Hadfield was forced to make two further saves before the break, saving well from Jack Taylor and in injury time a routine save from Finn Daniels-Yeomans.
The flow of the game in the second half continued from end to end with Hadfield called into action again; saving another goal attempt this one from Jammeh early into the restart.
It wasn’t all one way though and the save of the match, or save of the season, was made by the Hillians goalkeeper Luke Glover on 59 minutes, a Louis Evans corner from the left was half-cleared by the fist of Glover on the goal-line under pressure, Todd reacted quickest to hammer a right foot shot through a crowd of players that the Hillians keeper, reacting quicker than a striking rattle snake, diverted the ball away from the goal and out for a corner.
With 70 minutes gone and Heath on the ascendency, Louis Evans won the ball in midfield and picked out Aubrey wide on the left, the striker cut inside and struck a left foot shot from the edge of the penalty area that dipped narrowly over the crossbar.
Into the final 10 minutes of the match and Glover again showed his class with another brilliant one handed point blank save to deny Ashley Mutongerwa who hammered a right foot rocket of a shot from 12 yards that the Burgess Hill keeper pushed up onto the crossbar and out to safety.
So it ended all square, no goals but plenty of goal attempts and two very contented goalkeepers who must both have surely been awarded ‘Man Of The Match’ for their respective teams.
Team: Hadfield, Scally, Chesworth, Penfold, Bromage, Brackpool, Todd, Evans, Aubrey (Mutongerwa 84), Lemon (Lindsey 66), Doughty.