A last-gasp Dan Attwater penalty earned Broadbridge Heath a hard-fought point as they held Haywards Heath to a 1-1 draw last night (Tuesday).
Against the newly promoted hosts who have now gone a full calendar year since their last defeat, The Bears were without injured duo Stuart Chester and Ollie Moore, but welcomed back McDermott, Giorgio Alfieri and Attwater.
The Blues of Haywards Heath were really buzzing from the off and defending from the front, giving Heath players no time to rest on the ball, despite that the first goal scoring opportunity came to the Bears when Jamie Liddell cut back to Andy Howard, who blasted high over the crossbar from the edge of the penalty area.
It was the Blues who looked the more likely to score and Keiron Purkis almost gave them the lead when his right footed effort was deflected just wide of the post.
The hosts did brake the deadlock on 30 minutes and it was Purkis again who broke free of the Heath defence, Martyn Flack forced the striker wide right and put in a great tackle to win the ball but it spun in the air and fell kindly to Jamie Wanstall, who smashed it into the net from eight yards out.
Merv Bhujun almost equalised five minutes later when his effort from distance crashed against the Blues post and Jamie Fisher prevented the hosts from scoring a second when he saved at the foot of the post from a Mobsby free kick.
Heath started the second half much better but lacked that killer pass to open up the defence but it was the home side who almost added a second when a goal-bound effort was cleared off the line by Andy Howard.
At the other end Liddell played in Bhujun but his effort was deflected off the keeper for a corner and from another attack Flack and Bhujun got in each others way and a golden goal-scoring opportunity was missed.
In the dying minutes Broadbridge Heath threw everyone forward in search of the equaliser and finally the pressure told with Tiago Andrade, Bhujun and Flack combining to force the ball over the goal line, only to find the referee had already blown for a penalty for a Blues player handling before the ball went over the line.
Attwater placed the ball on the spot and smashed it into the back of the net as Steve Painer’s men secured a point as reward for never giving up.
BBH: Fisher, Flack, Attwater, Waddingham, Howard, Alfieri, Etherington, McDermott (Andrade 76), Bhujun, Liddell, Woods.