Broadbridge Heath needed a point from their final match of the season at Division 2 champions Eastbourne Utd AFC to confirm themselves as runners-up, but went one better with all three points to extend their long unbeaten league run to 24 games.
Heath created numerous chances in the first half against their hosts, who looked a bit off the pace, which is hardly surprising given their outstanding season in achieving the title and promotion and their unexpected and memorable cup run of reaching the semi-final of the FA Vase to just miss out on a final at Wembley.
Two early chances in the opening minutes fell to Heath’s Ollie Moore, the first of which saw his right foot effort go just wide of the far post and his second on eight minutes was over the crossbar.
Michael Wood met a Jamal Sultan cross from the right but shot just over the bar and Tiago Andrade tested the United keeper Grant Young with a right foot effort, and then again with a backward header but somehow the score remained goalless at the break.
Into the second half and Heath continued to create chances. Martyn Flack got on the end of a Piers McDermott cross but steered his shot wide of goal and Kieron Purkis had his right foot shot well saved by Young.
Heath finally broke the deadlock in the 58th minute, Andy Waddingham picked out Michael Wood and with his back to goal on the edge of the United penalty area, the former Heath Junior took a touch, turned and hit a right-footed shot that looped over the defence into the net.
Heath continued to press forward and Young was forced into a full length save to deny McDermott’s thunder-bolt shot. Then midway through the half Andrade played in Wood, who ran away from the defence and tried to take the ball around the United keeper but was clattered to the ground.
It was as clear a penalty as you could possible get but somehow Young was only shown a yellow card. Andrade stepped up to take the spot kick but fired his shot wide of the left hand post.
Into the final ten minutes and suddenly the home side hit a bit of form. James Fisher was forced to make his first save of the game when he pushed a Wes Tate shot from distance round the post and then Potruk Miskiewcz had a shot cleared off the Heath goal-line, but Steve Painter’s held out and deservedly won the game.
After the match Eastbourne United were presented with the Division 2 Champions Cup and the Heath players picked up their runners-up medals, to complete one of the finest season’s in the club’s history.
On Monday Heath Reserves play Hawards Heath Reserves in the Reserve Section Cup semi-final and on Wednesday they will be presented with the Reserve West Champions Cup after their game at Roffey.
BBH: Fisher, Alfieri, Sultan, Flack, Howard, Moore, Waddingham, Wood (Bhujun 83), McDermott, Purkis (Holmes 78), Andrade.