Five-star Heath end the year in style with their biggest-ever Division 1 win

Andy Howard (far right) netted his first goal of the season for Broadbridge Heath on Saturday in his first start since October
Andy Howard (far right) netted his first goal of the season for Broadbridge Heath on Saturday in his first start since October

Broadbridge Heath ended the year in style with their biggest ever win in Division One against struggling Crawley Down Gatwick.

Manager Steve Painter was forced to make changes to his back four with both Martyn Flack and Jamal Sultan starting their three-match suspensions but he was able to welcome back Andy Howard for his first start since October and Giorgio Alfieri also returning from injury.

The early part of the match was fairly even with Heath playing a lot of possession football but the hosts had plenty of pace on either side and looked dangerous on the break.

Mark Bevan had Heath’s first attempt on goal when he played a short pass into Ollie Moore and volleyed the return just wide of the post.

Moore was close again with a right-foot effort that was deflected wide for a corner.

For the hosts, Sam Cane and Ciaran Steers both had shots from distance which went wide of James Fisher’s goal, but on 24 minutes Crawley should have taken the lead.

A long free kick was played into the Heath penalty area and the ball fell kindly to a Crawley player just six yards from goal, but somehow completely missed his shot and the ball was cleared by Matt Carruthers.

Another mistake this, time in defence, led to Heath’s opening goal, Tiago Andrade whipped in a right-wing cross towards the near post, a defender went to clear his lines, but played the ball straight to Kieran Greig who greatly accepted the gift to put his team a goal up at the break.

In the second half, Grieg was the first to test the home keeper again with a shot that Jackson saved to his left.

Former Heath striker Jeffrey Mahadoo went close for Crawley with a shot that went into the side netting but another defensive error led to Heath’s second.

Jackson played the ball straight to Andrade and the Heath striker looked up and then chipped the ball over the advancing keeper into the empty net.

On 54 minutes it was 3-0 as Grieg got behind the left-back and hit a left-foot shot that was blocked, but the ball came out to Andrade who hammered his second attempt into the roof of the net.

Heath made it 4-0 midway through the half when Andy Howard converted a Bevan corner for his first goal of the season. In the final minute, substitute Greg Clark came on to complete the scoring with a well-taken right-foot shot into the corner of the net.

The home side almost scored a late consolation when substitute Grant Rigler got away from the Heath defence but although he got the ball past Fisher, his goalbound effort was cleared off the line by Carruthers.

Heath: Fisher, Alfieri (Robinson 55), Bevan, Carruthers, Howard, Godfrey, Moore, McDermott, Andrade, McNab (Love 62), Grieg (Clark 70).