Sunday 17 September 2017
Coral League – Autumn Cup

The opening game of the Autumn Cup saw a depleted Horsham squad take the long trip down to Chichester on Sunday with just nine players, in search of the three points to kick start this competition.

The game certainly wasn’t for the purist as both sides struggled to keep their shape or pass the ball well, again hindered with the length of the grass at New Park Road. Chichester were a physical side and although Horsham looked a better footballing side and had the home team on the back foot for the majority of the first half, they didn’t put away their chances and too many players were getting muscled off the ball and they looked in danger of being punished on the break.

This exact scenario occurred halfway through the first half when Jayden Nicholls in the Horsham goal was beaten. As the ball was about to nestle in the roof of the net, a covering Horsham defender handled on the line and a penalty was awarded. One nil to Chichester and it remained this scoreline going in at the break.

The second half kicked off and, within five minutes of the restart, George Lee – who had an excellent game in the middle of the park – jinxed through the Chichester defence and hit a low drive across the keeper and into the bottom corner to make it 1-1.

Chichester regained the lead on thirty-nine minutes after some sloppy defending by Horsham, following a corner. After failing to clear on a few occasions, the ball bounced around the area before being dispatched into the roof of the net from close range. But Horsham bounced straight back and equalised a minute later when Harry Lawson teed up Stanley Hague to power in a superb finish past the Chichester stopper to make it 2 – 2 with twenty minutes to play.

Horsham then had a change in formation as they pushed for the win, with Harry Clark joining Theo Imperiale up top. This made for a narrow midfield three but as Horsham hadn’t utilised the width all game it appeared they were looking to beat Chichester at their own game and really press through the middle of the pitch. It wasn’t pretty but was certainly effective as, on forty-five minutes, some strong running from midfield saw Harry Lawson burst through, and after beating two players, was upended in the box. He then scored the resulting penalty to make it 3 – 2 to Horsham.

Two minutes later, Horsham won a free-kick on the edge of the box. The instructions from the bench were to just hit the target and Harry Lawson duly obliged to score his second of the game! With thirteen minutes left to play, it was a fairly even game. Adam Rubin, Elliott Evans and Jacob Pugh were solid in the tackle, to the dismay of the Chichester number eleven who was arguably their best player.

It was looking like a guaranteed three points for Horsham but, two minutes from time, Chichester managed to claw a goal back to make it 4-3 to Horsham. Now with a single goal in it, it seemed to revive the home side and Horsham looked nervous and another great block tackle from Jacob Pugh in the Horsham penalty area and a late penalty shout following a tackle from Elliott Evans worried the travelling Horsham contingent. However, they held on to claim the points with a scrappy 4 – 3 win.

Horsham: Jayden Nicholls, Jacob Pugh, Adan Rubin, Elliott Evans, Stanley Hague, Harry Lawson (C), George Lee, Theo Imperiale, Harry Clark

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