Matthews haunts Heys
By STEPHEN HOWARD
Vase run ended by late goal
NORTHWICH VICTORIA 1-0 PRESTWICH HEYS
FA VASE SECOND ROUND REPLAY
WEDNESDAY 7th NOVEMBER 2018 by Scott White
Heys bowed out of this season’s FA Vase in the cruelest of circumstances when Vics scored the only goal in 210 minutes to seal a home tie with Silsden in the next round.
This was hard on a Heys team short on numbers, but bursting with hard work, application and endeavour against a side from a division above.
The visitors had two half chances within minutes of kick-off, Brad Sixsmith and Lee Bruce both finding themselves in promising positions, and Mikey Itela made a good run down the right, but couldn’t get a cross in.
At the other end of the field, Vics found the Heys defence in resolute form, skipper Jacob Wood making a string of excellent blocks, with Mark Ayres on hand to smother another opportunity, Northwich’s Rob Doran making a nuisance of himself.
On forty minutes, the Matt Clarke looped a speculative shot just over, and there was still time for Jacob Holt to make a lung-busting run and cross before the half-time whistle went.
The second half saw the game open up as legs tired in both teams, but it was Vics who enjoyed the better chances, Smith was again on hand to collect a couple of efforts on goal, the second a decent drive from Northwich’s Brandon Barski.
Just after the hour-mark, Justin Pickering replaced the hard-working Brad Sixsmith as Heys looked to freshen things up, but there was a major let-off soon afterwards when the ball fell loose in the Heys, box, but Vics’ Joel Brownhill somehow blasted high over the bar.
Heys were looking more and more dangerous on the break, the strength of Bruce and pace of Itela asking questions of the home defence, and it was Itela who went closest when a shot was deflected out for a corner.
At the other end, Ayres mopped up when Northwich found space on Heys’ left, cutting out a dangerous looking cross, and Photiou got his head in the way of a goal-bound free-kick.
This marked a change in fortunes, and it was Heys looking the likelier to score.
Wilson-Heyes lobbed a great effort over the advancing keeper on seventy-six minutes, only to see it drop just wide, and minutes later, he hit the post, collected the rebound, only to see his second shot blocked.
Though the visitors were now on top, the home side then spurned their best opportunity of the game when a fine breakaway saw a deep cross find the Clarke at the back post, but he headed high over.
Heys continued to press, only the final ball eluded them, but on eighty-two minutes, it was Wilson-Heyes who again was the dangerman, his effort hitting the other post before bouncing kindly for Northwich to clear.
Vics swiftly moved the ball forward into the penalty area, and Heys’ old boy Brian Matthews smacked the ball home to break the deadlock.
Prestwich threw everything at Vics in the remaining minutes, leaving themselves exposed at the back and Smith made a fine save when one-on-one with a Vics attacker.
Carl Fitton replaced Jacob Holt late on as Heys switched to three at the back, but for all their hard work and endeavour, it was the home side who breathed a huge sigh of relief and moved into Round Three after a fine contest.
This was a magnificent effort in defeat from a depleted Heys team, who again matched their more senior opponents across the park, and but for a little bit of luck in front of goal, it could have all ended very differently.
Dom Slaven, playing through injury, was superb in the Heys engine room, and Lee Bruce marked his 100th appearance for the Club with a busy, bustling performance, but all thirteen players deserve the plaudits despite the loss.
Heys Line-up: Michael Smith, Darius Photiou, Jacob Holt, Danny Warburton, Mark Ayres, Jacob Wood, Mikey Itela, Dom Slaven, Lee Bruce, Brad Sixsmith, Rio Wilson-Heyes. Substitutes: Justin Pickering (for Sixsmith), Carl Fitton (for Jacob Holt)