Rampant Bears tear apart Oakwood to end 2013 in the mix for promotion

Heath skipper Andy Howard scored two of the five goals
Heath skipper Andy Howard scored two of the five goals
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Broadbridge Heath turned on the style to put five unanswered goals past Crawley rivals Oakwood on Saturday.

Both skipper Andy Howard and Keiron Purkis bagged braces and Tiago Andrade was also on target, four of the goals coming in a dominant second half as the Bears signed off for the year in style.

Heath were expecting a tricky away fixture on a pitch that, despite the recent weather was a credit to the groundsman, and both teams played open and attacking football in a first half that saw chances at both ends.

James Fisher in the Heath goal twice made important saves from close range and held on to a long-range effort that zipped off the turf.

At the other end Jamal Sultan and Purkis repeatedly caused problems for the home defence with just the final touch in front of goal missing.

The opening goal came just before half time from a more unusual source with skipper Howard heading in from close range after McDermott’s free kick eluded Grimstone in the home goal.

Heath tightened up the midfield from the restart and began to take control of the game. With Oakwood trying to get back into the game, the Heath defence, with James Day making a dominant debut alongside Howard, closed ranks.

The midfield of Etherington, Moore and McDermott took charge and the game became far more one-sided.

Purkis doubled the lead after being put through by Piers McDermott and when Fisher’s punched clearance was latched onto by Purkis he fed Tiago Andrade, who delivered a delicious chip over Grimstone to make it 3-0.

Heath were now running amok with the pace of Sultan producing a series of inviting crosses that the hosts somehow survived and a five-man one-touch move that ended with Purkis somehow managing to scuff his shot with the goal at his mercy.

He redeemed himself in the 79th Wood to fire in from a narrow angle and the scoring was completed as it started with the imperious Howard applying the final touch to a Purkis corner.

A good day all round for manager Steve Painter, who had Martyn Flack, Andy Waddingham, Merv Bhujun and Jake Holmes unavailable.

With Stuart Chester returning to the side, Rob Godfrey looking like his old self after such a long injury layoff and James Day looking like he’d been there all season; Painter will have the sort of selection problems he likes.

And this latest big victory keeps Heath well in the mix to mount a serious promotion challenge. They go into the new year fourth in the table, just six points off the joint leaders having lost only two Division Two matches.

Heath: Fisher, Godfrey, Chester, Day, Howard, Etherington, Moore, McDermott (Alfieri), Andrade (Whiting), Purkis, Sultan (Wood).