Heys held by Nelson
By STEPHEN HOWARD
Bruce on the mark on a frustrating night
The first floodlit home fixture of the season brought a night of frustration for Heys as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Nelson.
Despite dominating possession for long periods, Heys were continually thwarted by some resolute defence by a Nelson side that was reduced to ten men in the 26th minute when Charlie Lloyd was given a red card for bringing down Lee Grimshaw when he was through on goal.
Indeed, in the closing stages the visitors may have taken all three points as Heys early season League form continued to stutter.
Their campaign has still not really got going, hampered by injury and unavailability, Manager Jon Lyons and Ryan Hutchinson were again forced to make changes here and suffered a further blow in the warm up when Dom Slaven pulled up.
The match set off at a furious pace, which was to never really let up. It was Nelson who carved out the first chance when Nathan Webb found space just inside the box before flashing a shot just wide of the far post.
Heys responded with some slick football of their own, with Captain for the night, Max White, to the fore, they pressed and probed for an opening against a well drilled Nelson rear guard.
The Lancashire side were also lively in attack and in the 13th minute took the lead. A great break down the left culminated in a cross from which Gareth Hill rose to deliver a deft close-range header into the bottom corner.
It took Heys just ten minutes to respond when, after repeatedly coming up against a brick wall, a moment of real quality finally unlocked the Nelson defence.
Carl Fitton broke down the left before picking out Lee Bruce, who showed great composure and some neat footwork to sidestep his marker and steer into the bottom corner.
Buoyed by the goal, Heys pressed forward and in the 26th minute came the red card for Lloyd as he pulled back Grimshaw on the edge of area as he looked to go clear.
Looking to take advantage of the extra man, some great passing created an opening for Max White but his shot from the edge of the area cleared the bar.
Nelson though remained a threat and in the 35th minute it took a good save by Callum Jakovlevs, as he dropped low to his right to keep out a Hill header.
As the second half opened, the feeling was that Heys would surely make the extra man count. Playing with great tempo, Fitton flashed a shot wide and Brad Sixsmith saw a shot deflected over the bar. In between, Nelson keeper Marcel Wsiewicz, showed great anticipation with two great pieces of keeping to thwart Grimshaw and Darius Photiou as they threatened to get in.
The tone of the half had been set. Heys pressing, Nelson resolute in defence repeatedly getting a foot or a head in to break Heys attacks and when that failed great handling by Wsiewicz saw him collecting crosses high and low.
Indeed, as frustration began to creep into Heys play, it seemed Nelson may take the points and in the 73rd minute, it took a smart save by Jakovlevs, the Heys stopper blocking a shot with his legs when Hill broke clear.
Despite, continuing to command the possession, Heys remained unable to fashion a clear opening and it was Nelson who again to come closest to winning, when in the 86th minute, Kenneth Taylor went close with a free kick from the edge of the area.
In the end no one could deny the visitors their point. For Heys, their free scoring form of last season continues to desert them, but there was much to admire in their play, suggesting that they are going to click sooner rather than later.
TEAM: Callum Jakovlevs, Darius Photiou, Carl Fitton, Max White (Capt), Danny Vincent, Mark Ayres, Brad Sixsmith, Jacob Holt, Lee Bruce, Rio Wilson-Heyes, Lee Grimshaw, Subs: Jake Wood (foe Fitton 65 mins), Michael Smith, David Bondo, Michael Itela (for Bruce 65 mins)