Broadbridge Heath 1, Haywards Heath Town 2 (aet): Saunders brace puts Heath into Peter Bentley Challenge Cup final

Heath celebrate the winning goal. Picture by Grahame Lehkyj
Heath celebrate the winning goal. Picture by Grahame Lehkyj

A Callum Saunders brace secured Heath place in the final of the Peter Bentley Cup after they came from behind to beat Broadbridge Heath 2-1 after extra-time.

Heath booked their place in the final of the Peter Bentley Cup where they will face Pagham on Monday May 1. (Venue and Time tbc).

Haywards Heath attack from a corner. Picture by Grahame Lehkyj

Haywards Heath attack from a corner. Picture by Grahame Lehkyj

It will be Heath’s second final in two seasons after a tough night played on Steyning Towns new 3G pitch.

In the first half Heath dominated possession but could not turn chances into goals, the closest they came to breaking the deadlock was twice through Nathan Cooper when first he saw his header headed onto his own cross bar by the Bears defender and then another chance the covering defender cleared off the line.

Missed chances were to come back and haunt Heath early into the second half as the Bears won a free kick 25 yards out and the ball was fired into the far coner to give BBH the lead with 49 minutes played.

Heath continued to press Broadbridge Heath and in looking for the equaliser shuffled the pack as well as introducing both Kane Louis and Callum Saunders and it was the latter that brought the sides level on 72 minutes.

Jamie Weston’s corner was met by Nathan Cooper who headed the ball into the path of Max Miller and his shot on the turn was smothered by the keeper but only as far as Callum Saunders who smashed the ball into the roof of the net from close range.

Strikes from both sides continued up to the 90th minute with the Bears bring out a top save from James Shaw in the 89th minute.

Extra time saw Heath make their final change with Joel Daly replacing Max Miller, chances came and went at both ends and then with 102 minutes played it was one too many yellow cards for the Broadbridge Heath midfielder as he received his second booking.

The second period of extra time started and with just 2 minutes played Heath took the lead for the first time of the evening.

Trevor McCreadie and Callum Saunders worked hard to win the ball in the Bears final third, Saunders then played the ball left to Kane Louis and was rewarded with a return ball that he stabbed into the bottom corner from 15 yards out.

The final 13 minutes saw Broadbridge Heath throw what they could at Heath when in possession and Heath look to run the game out. With no time left another late challenge meant that BBH end the game with 9 men as it was yet another yellow card dished out.