Worthing United U12s 5 Horsham Green U12s 3
Arun & Chichester League Division A
Date: 12.03.17
KO: 10am

Horsham scorers:  Zach (14’), Worthing o.g. (44′), Dan (60’)

A slow start to the game let the boys down on what was otherwise a very competitive and hard fought match, and the Greens emerged with great credit despite a narrow loss.

Let’s get the bad news out of the way first.  Like several other games this season, the boys were undone by a sluggish opening period.  Worthing applied pressure from the first whistle, running at pace and opening up Horsham’s defence at will.  Almost all the team were guilty of standing still and ball watching.  Worthing scored three headers from corners – in each case unchallenged in front of goal.  In addition, a fast attacking move ended with a rasping shot that Louie Masters did well to push away, but Worthing followed up and fired home powerfully.  Four down within eight minutes virtually finished the game before it had really begun.

Finally the team started to regain some composure – holding on to the ball better and starting to make challenges and tackles.  In the 14th minute, Adam Fitter won the ball in midfield then held off two challenges before sending a great through ball upfield.  Zach Barnett latched onto this, clear of the Worthing defence, before applying a super finish into the top left corner from distance.

Worthing continued to offer plenty of goal threat and Louie pulled out a succession of reaction saves: from close range, long distance, and a free-kick destined to go in at the far post before Louie got his fingers to it.  He was receiving more defensive cover as the game progressed and Alex Power made a series of strong tackles, with Dan Woodward clearing off the goal line after another block from Louie.

As the half came to a close the team was playing much better, limiting Worthing’s chances as the game wore on.

HT:  Worthing United 4 Horsham 1

The second half was a much more balanced game, with end to end action. Worthing broke quickly ending in a one-on-one with the keeper, but Louie was again equal to the challenge – spreading himself to get a vital block.

Horsham’s second goal came in the 44th minute.  Good passing play by Alex, Ghyll Bowen and Jay Cunnell down the left flank enabled Jay to get to the bye line, from where his cross was hit low and hard across the goalmouth and Worthing’s unfortunate defender couldn’t avoid deflecting into his own net.

Worthing continued to make attacking moves. Joel Simmons, Tate Stowell and Alex battled hard and made a series of last ditch tackles, whilst Louie continued his outstanding game.  However Worthing’s fifth came in the 50th minute.  Horsham pressed hard near the Worthing penalty area, but an unlucky deflection broke down the move and, with our players committed forward, Worthing had space to counter and score the decisive goal.

However, Horsham weren’t finished.  In the 60th minute, Alex collected a pass midway in the Worthing half.  Looking up, he played a clever pass sideways to where Dan waited in the middle.  Dan’s first time shot was both powerful and accurate, flying into the top left corner and leaving the Worthing keeper stranded.

FT:  Worthing United 5 Horsham 3

Football is full of “ifs” but it really would have been a close match apart from those opening ten minutes.  This was a highly entertaining game for the watching parents.  Both teams played with commitment and the second half, in particular, was end-to-end excitement.

The team really stepped up their performance in the second half and there were strong showings from virtually everyone.  Alex and Dan combined both physicality with attacking threat, but all played their part.  Energy levels were maintained throughout the game – again a great credit to all considering this was the second consecutive game without any substitutes (and perhaps showing the benefits of the fitness segments during training?).  The boys also marked and challenged for the ball better, and didn’t allow headers on goal from any corners after those opening minutes.

HORSHAM: Zach Barnett, Ghyll Bowen, Jay Cunnell, Adam Fitter, Louis Masters, Alex Power, Joel Simmons, Tate Stowell, Dan Woodward

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