Horsham Youth’s newly formed U11s side were welcomed by their hosts, Angmering, for their first game, and first friendly, of the 2017/2018 season last Sunday. They arrived at Decoy Drive with Zack Bull and Adan Rubin both unavailable to play which left them short of defenders, Jacob Pugh being the only ‘specialist’ defender on the team sheet. Fortunately in Luke York, Elliott Evans and Stanley Hague, they clearly had a few utility players who are competent and have the ability to play anywhere across the back line and midfield, with Stanley playing in every position on the pitch, even having a stint up front.

The game kicked off and it was clear to see that both sides were trying to get the ball down and play football the right way. Angmering were stroking the ball around nicely without seeming to have much cutting edge, and with Harry Lawson bursting from the Horsham midfield along with Theo Imperiale’s timely runs up front, both fashioned good chances to put the visitors in the lead, Horsham working the opposing goalkeeper on a regular basis.

As it turned out, it was Angmering that took the lead but Horsham didn’t let it get their heads down and soon equalised. The game see-sawed from that point and it was all square going in at the break 4-4 with some fantastic saves from goalkeeper Jayden Nicholls and two goals apiece from the busy creative midfield duo, Harry Lawson and Sonny Barton. It seemed with a shortage of defenders that Horsham were looking to outgun the opposition but still needed to keep it tight at the back as the Angmering number five on the right wing was causing problems throughout the first half.

The second half, however, was a different story with the Horsham midfield getting a strong hold on the game. This saw both wingers Jacob Pescott and Thom Ong getting forward more and saw Thom get the first of his two well taken goals from close range and Sonny rounding off his hat-trick. Jacob Pugh and Elliott were making some good tackles at the back and, with Luke marshalling the defence and talking all game, the confidence was there for all to see. Horsham edged ahead 6-4 and, once two goals clear, there was no looking back.

With Horsham piling forward, some mazy runs from George Lee from central and wide positions, and strong running from Theo, Jacob and Thom whilst being found with some excellent passes from Harry and Sonny, it was inevitable that Thom found himself on the scoresheet again. Sonny tucked away his fourth goal of the game after some good approach play by Theo and Harry and  Jacob Pescott finished well across the keeper and in off the far post  to end the game 9-4 to Horsham.

Horsham: Jayden Nicholls, Jacob Pugh, Luke York, Elliott Evans, Stanley Hague, Sonny Barton, Harry Lawson, George Lee, Jacob Pescott, Thom Ong, Theo Imperiale

Scorers: Sonny Barton (4), Harry Lawson (2), Thom Ong (2), Jacob Pescott (1)

Man of the Match: Sonny Barton

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