Bumper crowd see Hadley snatch late leveller against Heathens

Jack Shakespeare

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In many respects, Saturday was a good day for Flackwell Heath. Manager Chris Ayres' son, Matty, celebrated his 21st birthday and more than 400 supporters came through the turnstiles to see the side take on third placed Hadley.

The cherry on the cake would have been seeing the Heathens hold onto Callum Bunting's 65th minute opener from the penalty spot, however, Hadley snatched a share of the spoils thanks to Ed Davis' strike in the sixth minute of stoppage time.

Despite this, Ayres felt the result was a fair one and he was pleased with the efforts of his side who were stripped of six regular starters. They also saw new signing Tommy Rees - signed on loan from Hungerford Town - scoop the man of the match award for his performance in goal.

“It was a good day,” said Ayres before adding, “Although, it was a bit hectic as it was my son’s 21st birthday and we had all the players back to my house after the game for a party. It was nice, it was just a shame we didn’t have three points to celebrate as well.

“To be honest, it was a fair draw. Hadley are a good side, and they have the top goal scorer in the league, I think. Unfortunately, we were quite weak, as we were missing six starters, but the boys available did us proud.

“We managed to get a new goalkeeper in before the match too, on loan from Hungerford. He did well and deservedly got man-of-the-match. We had a massive crowd as well as we offered free entry and over 400 people turned up.

Ayres added: “Matty got injured in the game. He went in for a tackle, their guy was late and caught him on his wrist and hand. So, he did have to come off unfortunately, but he was fine by the evening.

“Callum got his first goal for the club as well which is good. I think the referee played 14 minutes of extra time, I’m not too sure where he got that from, and that’s when they scored.”

Next up for Flackwell Heath is a trip to Broadfields United on Saturday. The side sit 16th in the Spartan South Midlands Premier Division so Ayres and his men will fancy their chances, especially given the game will played on a 3G pitch.

After that, the Heathens face Harefield United on Tuesday, April 19 before concluding their season at Arlesey Town on Saturday, April 23.

“It’s going to be nice to go to Broadfields because they have a really nice playing surface at their ground,” said Ayres. “Hopefully we can pick up three points and then we move onto Tuesday when we welcome Harefield.”

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