Cory is Heys shining Knight
By STEPHEN HOWARD
Injury time winner clinches Heys 7th successive win
writes Alex Brotherton
A last-gasp winner from Cory Knight clinched all three points as Heys came out on top against Carlisle City.
In a battle between third and fourth at Adie Moran Park on Saturday afternoon, Heys looked to avenge a 2-1 defeat to their Cumbrian counterparts earlier in the season.
Jon Lyons’ men entered the contest in fine form, looking to secure a seventh win on the bounce, but the visitors proved tough opposition, sitting below Heys in the table only on goal difference.
Heys had the better of a scrappy first half of few clear chances and feisty midfield battles, a reflection of the pressure on both sides to get a result.
The game’s first opportunity fell to the visitors after eight minutes, but Heys keeper Michael Smith dealt easily with a stinging low drive from the prolific Rob McCartney.
The best chance of the half fell to Heys after 18 minutes, as Bradley Sixsmith found Alfie Belcher in the box. The Heys number seven volleyed goalward, only to see Carlisle stopper Stephen Townsley brilliantly tip the effort round the post.
In game played at electrifying pace clear chances were hard to come by although it was Heys who looked the most likely. In the 38th minute, another opportunity fell to Belcher, but his 18-yard snap-shot forced a more comfortable save.
On the stroke of halftime, some slick play opened up the Carlisle rear guard, but Sixsmith blazed over, and the two sides went into the break goalless.
The second half saw Heys crank up the pressure in an effort to find the breakthrough, but the City defence stood firm.
Just before the hour mark Jamie Baguley acrobatically flicked the ball goalward following a corner, but the Townsley saved well.
After Sixsmith missed another chance, Townsley was again called into action, producing a fine stop to deny substitute Cory Knight’s goal bound effort.
However, Carlisle were not content to just sit back. Some fine build up play resulted in a fierce low drive by McCartney which Michael Smith did well to palm away.
As the half wore on it looked like it just wasn’t going to be Heys’ day. Townsley pulled off another fine save to deny Will Shawcross, followed by a waved-away penalty appeal and a wayward Chris Baguley freekick.
Smith then had to be alert to tip a lopping shot from Josh Simpson over as Carlisle looked to snatch victory.
However, with the tension mounting and the referee’s watch ticking towards fulltime, new boy Cory Knight stepped up to finally break the deadlock.
Three minutes into injury time a ball from the right was flicked into the striker’s path and he coolly slotted into the bottom corner from 13 yards out.
The goal opened the striker’s Heys account having recently arrived from Manchester Central, and provoked wild celebrations on the side-lines and in the dugout.
There was no time for Carlisle to come back and the win keeps Heys third in the table, three points above Carlisle, one behind AVRO and nine behind league leaders Longridge.
Crucially, with 14 games still to go, the win keeps Jon Lyons’ side in the hunt for promotion, should there be any slip ups from the sides above.
Michael Smith, Darius Photiou, Carl Fitton, Dominic Slaven, Jacob Holt, Jacob Wood (CAPT), Alfie Belcher, Jamie Baguley, Lee Bruce, Bradley Sixsmith, William Shawcross
Chris Baguley (for Jamie Baguley, 59 mins), Cory Knight (for Lee Bruce, 63 mins), Rio Wilson-Heyes (for Bradley Sixsmith, 80 mins), Liam Healey, Sven Gibson.