Mile Oak 0-0 Broadbridge Heath: Familiar foes battle out stalemate

Jamal Sultan - pictured here on Saturday against AFC Uckfield - had a shot saved by the Oaks 'keeper
Jamal Sultan - pictured here on Saturday against AFC Uckfield - had a shot saved by the Oaks 'keeper

Including a pre-season friendly this was the fourth time the two sides have met this season with Heath having won all three previous encounters, the most recent a 2-1 RUR Cup success on March 4.

However since that last defeat the Oaks have produced two excellent results beating league leaders Eastbourne United 3-0 on their own pitch and then winning 2-1 at Westfield, so it was quite clear this was going to be a difficult game for Heath and that’s exactly how it turned out.

The hosts flew out of the blocks and for the opening 15 minutes had Heath on the back foot, but were unable to breakdown the solid defence marshalled by the impressive Andy Howard.

Midway through the half Steve Painter’s side started to get on top and created a few chances of their own.

Jamal Sultan had one effort saved by the Oaks keeper when set up by Jake Holmes, and just before the break Holmes set up Michael Wood and his right-footed shot was again saved well by the ‘keeper.

Into the second period Heath had the majority of play but were unable to find that killer pass, while at the same time the Oaks always looked dangerous on the counter-attack.

A change of tactics by Painter to a 4-4-2 formation, with the introduction of Tiago Andrade from the bench appeared to have swung things in Heath’s favour, as the attacks appeared more purposeful adding pressure on the Mile Oak defence.

With ten minutes remaining a McDermott corner from the left was headed goalwards by Andrade at the near post but again the ‘keeper did well to save.

Andrade then dribbled past two defenders on the edge of the penalty area, shot for goal but again the keeper did well to save and from the resulting corner Dan Attwater rose above everyone but his header went way over the crossbar.

In the final minutes the Oaks broke away down the right, a pinpoint cross picked out their centre-forward and he powered in a header which went straight into the arms of Heath’s ‘keeper James Fisher, when a foot either side would almost certainly have been a goal.

So the game ended 0-0 and yet another clean sheet for Heath, their 18th of the season but it could very easily have been defeat.

The two sides will meet once again before the season’s end when Mile Oak visit Broadbridge Heath on April 5.

BBH: Fisher, Attwater, Day (Alfieri 75), Flack, Howard, Waddingham, Bidgood, Etherington (Andrade 67), Wood (McDermott 70), Holmes, Sultan.