Martin Read – Sports Reporter
On the coldest night of the season to date Broadbridge Heath bowed out of the Sussex Senior Cup against visiting Whitehawk – 4 time winners of the competition – from the Isthmian League South East Division. Encouraged by a good contingent of supporters, accurate-passing Whitehawk had the lion’s share of possession, scoring two goals in each half, with only an exceptional performance from Heath keeper Liam Matthews preventing further damage.
The first half produced 13 corners – ten for Whitehawk and three for Heath, but the Brighton side were kept at bay until the 20th minute when skipper Henry Muggeridge’s floating corner resulted in an own goal. Matthews was pulling off some excellent reaction saves, and the woodwork came to Heath’s rescue when the ball hit the inside of the right post and onto the left before going off for another corner. Heath’s Louis Blake fired in a long distance shot, without unduly troubling James Broadbent in the Whitehawk goal, then, five minutes before the interval, Matthews saved twice in quick succession, only for James Fraser to crash in from close range to double the Hawks lead, with the crossbar then assisting Heath again.
Resuming, Jamie Taylor could not quite get a shot in for Heath and resolute defending kept Whitehawk out for a quarter of an hour, until Ronald Sobowale converted Lucas Rodrigues’ low cross, with the ref ignoring Heath’s pleas for what appeared to be offside. With the result in little doubt, two minutes later came the icing on the cake for the Hawks when the ball fell kindly for the lively Rodrigues for a routine put in.
Heath earned two late corners ahead of Matthews denying Whitehawk sub, Sam Wright’s penetrating cross before the same player lobbed the gallant keeper with the ball going just over the bar.
Although out-played by a stronger side, spirited Heath kept running to the end, but they sorely missed their leading goal scorer Lewis Croal – who had found the net 14 times for Heath this season – but has been enticed back to his former club, Crawley Down Gatwick.
Lockdown now brings down the curtain on local football until the beginning of December at the earliest.