Mussels open up eight-point gap with win over Heath

Rob OToole struck twice on his return to Haywards Heath as Mussels opened up an eight-point gap at the SCFL Premier Division summit last night. Picture: Stephen Goodger

Rob OToole struck twice on his return to Haywards Heath as Mussels opened up an eight-point gap at the SCFL Premier Division summit last night. Picture: Stephen Goodger

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Rob O’Toole struck twice as Shoreham Football Club opened up an eight-point lead at the Southern Combination League Premier Division summit on Tuesday.

A brace from Rob O’Toole, who returned to haunt his former team, ensured Mussels came from behind to seal a 2-1 success at second-placed Haywards Heath.

Going into the contest, Shoreham had a five-point cushion – but victory sees them eight points clear of their nearest rivals at the halfway stage in the season.

Despite the victory, Mussels boss Bryan O’Toole is refusing to get too carried away and said: “It’s just another win for us; as good as it was, it’s just another three points on the way to where we want to be.

“I felt first half we were really poor and were getting sucked into what they were doing.

“At the break, I brought on Jamie Craddock and Kevin Keehan and we looked a different team.

“We had chances to win it even more comfortably, the win was well deserved.

“It’s important we don’t get carried away now, though.

“We’re halfway through the season but now we’ll have to match what we’ve done in the first half of the season.

“People were saying you must be delighted but I’m not going to get carried away. After a win like that, the focus for me is to make sure we follow it up with another three points on Saturday.”

Shoreham were slow out of the blocks and were left with it all to do as they fell behind on eight minutes. Trevor McCreadie’s crisp strike was parried into Alex Laing’s path, and he was on hand to tap into an empty net.

Mussels struggled for the remainder of the first 45 minutes before Bryan O’Toole made two changes at the interval.

Craddock and Kevin Keehan were introduced, replacing Ryan Storrie and Graham Martin respectively, with Craddock’s impact almost immediate.

Having won a free-kick three minutes after the restart, Craddock’s whipped ball was headed home by Rob O’Toole as Shoreham got level.

Momentum was now with Mussels but it looked as though they would have to settle for a draw.

However, Rob O’Toole had other ideas and rifled home from 18 yards and the comeback was complete.

Rob O’Toole so nearly completed his hat-trick on his return but a late header bounced back out of the bar.

Shoreham travel to basement boys Hailsham Town on Saturday but Bryan O’Toole believes his team cannot under-estimate them.

He added: “That’ll be just as difficult as Tuesday.

“If we go into that with the wrong attitude then we won’t get the three points.

“We have to stay focused and make sure we come away with victory.”

SHOREHAM: Heyburn; Storrie, O’Hagan, Pearson, Hartley; Martin, J.Keehan; Dryer, Burton, Packer; O’Toole. Subs: Craddock (Storrie), K.Keehan (Martin), Greenfield, Deen, 
Goldson.

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