Heys Cup hopes ended by Nelson
By STEPHEN HOWARD
Defeat in Macron Cup
writes Scott White
Heys’ shortcomings in front of goal came back to haunt them as they crashed out of the Macron Cup at Nelson, despite creating goalscoring opportunities well into double-figures.
The Victoria Park pitch was in great shape despite the recent rain, and Heys were straight onto the front foot, having decent shouts for a handball in the box waved away and a Max White drive just clearing the bar inside two minutes.
The visitors were making all the running, passing and probing well, but with eight minutes gone, disaster struck when Adam Farrell was forced the leave the action, with Rio Wilson-Heyes making an early contribution from the bench.
Five minutes later, a Heys free-kick caused chaos in the Nelson box, and it was White again who got in the final effort.
Nelson’s first opportunity came on fifteen minutes when Gareth Hill headed over but Heys were soon back at it, Jamie Baguley pulling the strings in midfield with a selection of willing runners to pick out.
It was a Baguley free-kick that had the home defence back peddling again, but the Marcel Wseiwicz held on to the ball well with Heys threatening.
On nineteen minutes, the Admirals took a surprise lead, Hill finding himself in space before unleashing a drive at goal, Mike Smith could only parry the ball, and the centre-forward pounced as Heys looked on and he finished well with his second shot.
It is hard to exaggerate Heys midfield dominance, the home penalty area was peppered with great crosses from Carl Fitton, Rio Wilson-Heyes, Jamie Baguley and Max White, and it seemed only a matter of time before the goal would come.
It would be remiss not to mention that Nelson’s centre-half pairing dominated the aerial battle throughout, but Heys ability to look for ways around them illustrated the quality we have in midfield.
White went close with a low drive that hit the side netting, but Nelson gave notice they weren’t there to make up the numbers when Smith tipped a header round the post on the half-hour.
The home side doubled their lead two minutes later, and it was an early Christmas gift from Heys.
A loose ball played across the face of goal just outside the Heys penalty area fell at the feet of James Wolfenden, who hit a first time shot at goal which went straight through a surprised Smith.
Even at 2-0 down, it was hard to believe that Heys would lose, but Nelson again went close when full-back Jack Corcoran make a great run, but his final shot was off target.
Wilson-Heyes was getting well into his stride by this point, and put in a magnificent delivery into the box on thirty-eight minutes before taking the responsibility on himself a couple of minutes later to reduce the arrears.
His quick feet left two home defenders flat-footed, and he cut inside to the corner of the penalty area before curling a fine low shot into the far corner of the net.
There was still time for Heys to carve out two great chances, Jacob Wood getting a cross onto the head of Mikey Itela, but the ball flew wide, and then Mikey turned provider as he slipped the ball through to Lee Bruce, but Wseiwicz did well to spread himself and block with his legs.
The second half saw more of the same, but Nelson were resolute whilst on the back foot, and possessed a threat on the break.
Wilson-Heyes flashed a header over on forty-eight minutes as chances continued to be created.
On fifty-five minutes, White again fired an effort in after Heys passed their way into a great position, but the effort was well held.
Just after the hour, Lee Grimshaw replaced Jamie Baguley and the substitute was soon in the fray, neatly back-heeling the ball for White who snatched at his shot.
Ten minutes later, it was Bruce who got a lovely touch on the ball for Wilson-Heyes to advance on goal, but his effort was tipped around the post.
On seventy-eight minutes, Heys changed tack and lobbed a high ball into the box, the home keeper missed it completely, but an outstretched Jacob Holt could only push the loose ball wide.
With the clock ticking down, Itela had a shot saved after a nice cut in from the touchline before Mark Ayres replaced Carl Fitton with ten minutes left.
Just before the end of the scheduled ninety minutes, a sweet cross from Holt found Grimshaw in a packed penalty area, but he could not direct his header on goal.
With Heys throwing everything forward, Bruce went close, but his low shot was well smothered at the foot of the post.
Eventually, the final whistle went on Heys cup hopes for the season, and the only mild consolation was that there were no league points lost.
The sheer amount of chances created was nothing short of exceptional, but without a recognised striker, or others chipping in to convert into goals, there could be more frustrating afternoons ahead for Heys.
Full marks to Nelson though, they were superb in the air, worked hard as team and took their chances.
Heys line-up: Mike Smith, Jacob Holt, Carl Fitton, Max White, Ian Rowlands, Jacob Wood, Liam Healey, Jamie Baguley, Adam Farrell, Lee Bruce, Mikey Itela. Substitutes: Rio Wilsn-Heyes (for Farrell), Lee Grimshaw (for Baguley), Mark Ayres (for Fitton), Dom Butler and Sven Gibson (both unused)