As one of the few games still going ahead on Saturday this game was always going to be the talk of the league. Town looked to make it 5 wins on the bounce while Broadbridge Heath looked to extend the gap at the top of the table. Broadbridge Heath were without Ryan Brackpool due to suspension and Ollie Davies returns to the Town starting lineup after being dropped to the bench against Loxwood last weekend.
There was no goal for Town in the first 3 minutes as there were in their previous 2 fixtures, however, against one of the best teams in the league, that was always going to be a tall order. The first shot of the game came 7 minutes in when a left footed shot from Fletcher Holman went just wide. Broadbridge Heath responded with a shot by Barbary, forcing a save from Winterton. The visitors charged forwards again a minute later with Barbary heading but Winterton repeats his heroics.
Adam Davidson was forced off with an injury in his 475th appearance after just 15 minutes putting a bitter end to a landmark game. A suspected ACL could put an end to his season. Broadbridge then hit the post from range causing heart palpitations from the Town bench. Town looked miles off the pace in the first 20 mins. Alfie Peacock look as if he provided a new sense of attack and urgency for Town and in the 21st minute the ball fell to Callum Barlow in the box who placed it in to make it 1-0 to Town. Fletcher Holman made a few skillful runs forwards however the possession predominantly belonged to The Bears. Towards the end of the half, the Bears made a frantic attacking phase forcing Town to scramble it away multiple times. While Broadbridge Heath lead in possession stats, it was Town that led the scoreline at half time.
Town started the second half slowly infuriating Jude MacDonald with the Bears having numerous shots at goal. Broadbridge began to look like league leaders, however, in the final third they were poor and Winterton wasn’t worked. In the 55th minute, Town appealed for what looked like a dangerous free kick however the referee gave it as a dive.
A promising run by Terry ( Sean not John) beat Murphy however he drags the shot just wide. Town went on the counter attack with Fletcher Holman shooting, it looked like the inform forward scored but it hit the inside of the post and deflected out. The Bears continued to dominate possession however the equaliser continued to evade them. Then the inevitable happened, some disastrous defending lead to Broadbridge equalising courtesy of Charlie Parmiter.
Town looked to respond charging forwards with Jack Samways firing a shot which was saved. Fletcher Holman made a charging run but once again he hits the post. Broadbridge continued to beat Towns defenders, however, very few shots hit the target. Mason Doughty and Charlie Parmiter caused havoc on the wings but Town remained resolute in the middle of the park.
Broadbridge looked as though they could find a winner, however, Mason Doughty kept firing them wide, providing sighs of relief to the Town boys. Broadbridge then had an appeal turned down by the referee who, like in the first half, deemed it simulation and refused to point to the spot. Both teams were looking for an equaliser in added time with Parmiter for the Bears and Waters for Town charging forwards. However, despite both team’s best efforts, it ended 1-1 at The Saffrons.
Town travel to Horsham YMCA next week
Written by: Mackenzie Whitehouse
Photography: David Tungate