Well here we are, the 2nd
October, fleeces on, bring a rain jacket you never
know…Not quite!! Hot sun, 25 degrees, rock hard dusty
ground. Quick, rescue your shorts and tee shirts from
Horsham lined up in a
4-3-3 formation and earned an early corner in the 3rd
minute, taken by Finn Bigg and put right into the six
yard box which was cleared only as far as Jack Reeves on
the edge of the penalty area but his volley was just
over the bar. Horsham continued to pressurise the Blues'
defence down the right flank through Bigg but their
'keeper was looking strong.
Tom Summerfield was
working well at left back and was taken down for a
free-kick just on the edge of the box after having gone
around three players. Charlie Belton floated in the kick
but their 'keeper took the catch from a defensive
header. However, his throw out was quickly intercepted
by Bigg who drilled the ball low across goal to Belton
who shot first time and this was gratefully smothered by
their goalkeeper. The Blues came back with a corner soon
after but this was cleared by the unflappable Louis
Lewis in defence who was frustrating the opposition
strikers by mopping up everything.
Fifteen minutes gone and
Liam Clarke came desperately close with a curled right
foot effort just wide of the top corner after great work
from Ali Kerr, bursting through the midfield. Bigg
followed this with a lob over the 'keeper but
agonisingly wide after getting between the Blues'
central defenders. Horsham took the lead on 23 minutes
after a nicely weighted through ball from Summerfield
found Clarke who let it bounce once then rifled it home
under pressure from a defender. A well taken goal but
only what Horsham deserved.
Three minutes later it was
2-0 with Bigg managing to shake off The Blues' left back
down the right wing and his low ball across the goal
face could only be poked into his own net by the
defender. Kerr and Hugo Cowan were combining well in the
midfield and a speculative effort from Cowan was
actually left by their 'keeper to rattle the post with
the rebound reaching Kerr who volleyed it back, only to
have the ball scrambled off the line by a defender.
H/T Saint Hill Blues 0
Horsham brought on Nick
Bristow up front for Belton to keep the same formation
and the opposition changed theirs to match for the
second half. Their early pressure was handled by
Horsham's defence but it was clear that Horsham would
have less time on the ball in the midfield this half.
The heat was taking its toll and Horsham were encouraged
to continue to work and push on. Kieran Wootton in
Horsham’s goal started to feature in the game a little
more and The Blues were gaining momentum.
However, Horsham's defence
stayed alert and Summerfield made several interceptions.
One resulting through ball was unfortunately just too
long for Clarke to latch onto and their 'keeper was out
quickly. Some good last ditch defending prevented
Bristow shooting from inside the box, having been put in
by Cowan. Bigg continued to harass their left back and
combined well with Kerr and Alfie Carter, the ball
finally reaching Jack Reeves after a patient build up
but his looping effort hit the cros bar and Bristow
followed up only to fire over from close range.
Clarke continued to show
good strength and will power, coming deep to receive the
ball then losing it only to recover it back to find
Bristow who crossed but just too deep for Bigg. Dan
Cusdin came on shortly after for Bigg and Horsham
reverted to 4-4-2. Clarke got the assist for Horsham's
third, having fended off several challenges to cross to
Kerr who had time to pick his spot. This 3-0 lead was
short lived, however, after a slight defensive mix up
allowed the opposition to pull one back.
The Blues were spurred on
and it took another Summerfield interception with two
strikers bearing down on him to keep them out. However,
the pressure continued and a dubious penalty was awarded
for a 'push' and this was put away to leave a tense
final 15 minutes with Horsham needing to hold strong to
avoid extra time. Bristow and Clarke battled on up front
and Bristow had a good effort pushed around the post for
a Horsham corner on 59 minutes.
Horsham then made it 4-2,
or so we thought, on 62 minutes after Kerr made one of
his characteristic runs, beating three players to put in
Bristow whose shot was parried back for Clarke to side
foot in but he was ruled offside, much to everyone's
surprise. Horsham continued to push after this set-back
and ran out deserved winners to go through to the second
round with this solid victory over strong opposition.
Well played lads in the scorching October sun.