Goals: Allen 10’; Glover OG 83’ - McCreadie 3’; Warwick 25’.
Haywards Heath Town goalkeeper Luke Glover gift-wrapped a late equaliser to get a disjointed Guernsey out of jail on Wednesday night.
The Green Lions were a shadow of the side that had played so well in their last three games to reignite their play-off challenge but struggled to get going at Footes Lane and the visitors, having led through Trevor McCreadie and Ryan Warwick either side of a Ross Allen strike looked like they were going to see the game out comfortably for three points.
But sometimes your luck is in, and when Glover spilled Seb Skillen’s low cross into his own net with less than 10 minutes to go, he would have wanted the ground to swallow him up as the Garenne Stand roared with relief.
McCreadie kicked off the action with a clinical strike that rose into the far corner inside three minutes. The ball had fallen back to him after his initial shot was tipped away by Callum Stanton and not effectively cleared.
The Sarnians did rally briefly though, with Robbie Legg’s free-kick travelling under the wall but lacking power to beat Glover before Allen levelled two minutes later to mark his 250th appearance for the club.
Nico Cotton was deemed to have handballed near the left side of the area and Liam Mahon’s pulled the free-kick back low towards the edge of the area for Allen to strike. He fired into a crowd of bodies and the ball found the net via the help of a deflection. The assistant referee had his flag up initially, suggested that home players in an offside position had unsighted Glover, but following a discussion between the official, the referee saw fit to allow the goal to stand.
Rather than rejuvenate the Lions though, they regressed and their passing was often sloppy. Joshua Spinks’ downward header from a corner bounced just wide, and 10 minutes later the hosts could have no complaints about falling behind again.
Warwick chased a ball over the top and Callum Stanton initially did well to shepherd him away from goal. Warwick turned, shifted a yard away from Frank Tobin and shot low, with the deflection of Tobin’s ankle perhaps deceiving Stanton as the ball flew under him.
Guernsey put up a far better fight after the break but still didn’t look like they were going to break their visitors down. Most chances were potshots, such as Jamie Dodd’s from the edge of the area after exchanging passes with Allen at a corner, which he spooned just wide to Glover’s right.
Frank Tobin was unable to steer the ball in at the far post after brother Harry had got the ball back off Mahon and flashed in a cross from the left.
In fact, there was very little goalmouth action until the final 10 minutes, the first of which came as Nico Cotton’s cross-come-shot from the left flashed across goal and wide.
As Guernsey’s second change, Seb Skillen had brought a bit more energy to the home side and was heavily involved in the gifted equaliser. His low cross, fired in powerfully from the right, looked to have evaded fellow replacement Will Fazakerley and appeared to be under Glover’s control, but the visiting stopper allowed the ball to squirm under him and trickle into the far corner.
Suddenly the momentum was with the home side and their enthusiasm to snatch a winner meant they left a few gaps at the back, almost allowing Warwick to nick a winner as he ran in behind, but fired high into the side netting in stoppage time.
Tom De La Mare sent a shot high, wide and handsome in the added time, while Glover got down to hold a Dodd volley to ensure it didn’t creep in the corner.
The mood at the final whistle was one of relief as Guernsey extended their unbeaten run to four and moved back up to seventh in Isthmian South East after Tuesday’s results, which were as follows: Cray Valley PM 4-3 Whistable Town, Herne Bay 4-0 Ramsgate, Sevenoaks Town 0-0 Hythe Town, Sittingbourne 0-1 Ashford United, Three Bridges 3-4 Chichester City, VCD Athletic 2-1 Faversham Town, Whitehawk 2-2 Hastings United.
Haywards Heath Town: 1 Luke Glover; 2 Hamish Morrison; 12 Nico Cotton; 4 Byron Napper (c) (14 Daniel Cumber 69’); 5 Nathan Cooper; 6 Joshua Spinks; 7 Trevor McCreadie; 8 Michael Wilson; 9 Raheem Sterling-Paker (15 Tahjae Anderson 62’); 10 Ryan Warwick; 11 Kieran Rowe. Not used: 3 Luke Robinson; 16 Reece Hallard.
|Shirt||Player||Yellow Cards||Red Cards||Goals|
|6||Tom De La Mare||-||-||-|
|8||Carlos Canha (Thomas Dodds 83')||-||-||-|
|9||Robbie Legg (Will Fazakerley 61')||-||-||-|
|11||Matt Loaring (Seb Skillen 75')||-||-||-|