Willett at the double as Horndean ease past local rivals Baffins

By Jack Norris

Willett’s brace along with a strike from Blankson were enough to secure all 3 points for the Deans against their PO rivals Baffins at Five Heads Park.

The two PO rivals went toe to toe for the first time in the league this season, with the previous meeting coming back in August as Baffins beat Horndean 3-0 in the FA Cup Preliminary Round.

The Deans named an unchanged eleven following Saturday’s 2-1 win over Hythe & Dibden. Baffins meanwhile had been handed a big boost to their attacking options with the return of skipper Jason Parish from a suspension, he was named in the starting 11 for the visitors.

It was a slow start to proceedings with little clear cut chances exchanges. Horndean came close to an early lead 15 minutes in as Jackson laid the ball off to Taw, who found Willett at the back post who’s effort was out wide with the goal gaping.

Baffins were given a freekick in a dangerous position moments later, however Lethbridge’s initial strike was blocked by the wall, before his rebound was deflected off target.

Willett did make amends for his missed chance moments later as the Deans grabbed the lead on 26 minutes, when a lofted ball from Dempsey found Willett in on goal, who tucked the ball past Hardcastle to open the scoring.

Baffins challenge of getting back into the game was made more difficult on 41 minutes as centre half Ed Sanders was dismissed for a handball on the goal line. The visitors were down to 10 men however Horndean’s Tommy Tierney failed to capitalise as he struck his spot kick wide of the target.

HT: Horndean 1-0 Baffins Milton Rovers

Horndean doubled their advantage minutes into the second half with another good attacking move, as Jackson slid the ball through to Taw on the overlap, who’s crossed for Blankson to volley home against his former club.

Baffins responded with some chances of their own as they looked for a way back into the game. Horndean ‘keeper Cameron Scott was called to action on a couple of occasions, firstly tipping a Robinson long shot over before keeping out a headed effort from Rose.

The visitors saw another chance wasted 20 minutes from time as Robinson was unleashed on the right side, he drove into the box before dragging a shot wide.

Horndean had more chances to finish the game off late on, coming close when Duffin flicked the ball into the path of Willett who’s narrow angle shot was met by a strong save from Hardcastle.

The Deans did wrap the game up in stoppage time as Howes found Anderson, who teed up Willett for a tap in at the back post for his second of the match, securing victory for Horndean.

The result sees Horndean remain 3rd in the table, 5 points adrift of second place AFC Stoneham having played 3 games less than the Purps. Baffins stay put in 7th, with their focus turning to Saturday’s visit of Portland United.

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