Sunday 15th October 2017
Arun & Chichester League Challenge Cup
Venue: Lodsworth Village Hall recreation ground
On Sunday, Horsham U13 Greens progressed through to the quarter-finals of the Challenge Cup with a dominant away performance against Midhurst & Easebourne at their Lodsworth ground. Horsham went in front early on, with a goal in the second minute of the game, and won by six goals to two.
Bernard’s interception in his own half soon after the kick off began the move as he passed forward to Dan on the right. A killer pass picked out Sam in the Midhurst half, centre midfield. Sam showed fine skill on the ball and a neat finish as he took the ball into the box and scored with his left foot. Encouraged, Dan, Sam and Cameron followed that up with a shot each on target in the fourth minute; alas, all saved or blocked. A great start for Horsham.
The next ten minutes were frenetic in midfield and a solid Horsham defence held firm against Midhurst attacks. Cameron worried Midhurst in the ninth minute at the other end as his cross in from the left wing was miskicked in front of goal by a defender. The ball bobbled along the ground and bounced back off the left post before the ‘keeper fell on it. Close! Dan and Cameron caused more problems in the fourteenth minute delivering another three shots on target – one saved, one blocked, one goal. The second of those, by Cameron, was blocked on the line by a defender but the clearance went straight to Dan whose cross back in from the right was spilled by the ‘keeper..Cameron got to the loose ball in the six yard box, centre of goal and buried it with his left foot. 2-0 to Horsham.
The Dan-Cam combo was at it again five minutes later. This time, Cameron’s cross in from the left was headed down by a Midhurst defender at the far post. The ball came to Dan and his shot hit the underside of the bar, ricocheting down to the goal line. Did it cross? Not given; tough luck Dan!… but watch out Horsham! Midhurst broke forward quickly up the centre into the Horsham half, running into space behind the defence. Bernard dashed back and did just enough to put off the attacker; the ball rolled into the box for Louis to pick up. Midhurst got to the loose ball first in central midfield from Louis’ kick out. The attacker from the previous move remained forward and on side. The pass through gave him space to run into and he shot past Louis for a goal. Drama at both ends; Midhurst back in the game.
For the remainder of the half, Midhurst applied pressure and Horsham dug in to stay ahead; a tough ask as they were playing up the slope. Midhurst had two shots on target, kept out by two saves from Louis with help for one of them coming from a determined challenge by Alex to harass the striker. A re-run of the previous near own goal was Horsham’s only opportunity: Cameron’s cross, defender’s miskick, ‘keeper got a hand to it, came back off the left post. Three minutes later, a frantic first half ended with Horsham going forward and leading 2-1.
Horsham kicked off the second half playing left to right down the slope. The highlight of the match came after forty minutes with two amazing Horsham goals that proved decisive. Dan won the ball out to the right, a yard inside the Horsham half. He picked out a long, cross-field pass to Sam, in space on the left midfield inside the Midhurst half. Sam then showed great vision and had the time to spot an opportunity to lob the goalkeeper from distance. The ball arched high and dipped down; the ‘keeper jumped, stretching, to no avail. What an ambitious goal! He took advantage of the slope, the goal being visibly lower than his shooting position. The goal keeper was stranded just forward of his six yard box. Follow that! Cameron did! Having seen how it’s done, he too had a go and scored another from the same place. He made it himself, picking up the loose ball from the Midhurst restart, dribbling forward to central midfield before unleashing his own lob… same result! Horsham now lead 4-1 and it was difficult to see how Midhurst could recover from that, playing up the slope.
Horsham added another two goals before the end, both a result of good team work. In the forty-ninth minute, Bernard intercepted the ball on the right just inside Horsham’s half and slotted a pass forward to Aiden up to the right of midfield. Aiden’s high cross-field pass into the box towards the far post was spilled by the ‘keeper into Cameron’s path as he made a well-timed run in to the left post, his clinical finish achieving his hat trick. He wasn’t finished yet, though, and scored his fourth after an hour’s play. Tate played it forward to Cameron who combined well with Adam up the left wing before Cameron ran with the ball into the box and shot. 6 – 1 to Horsham..
Meanwhile, there was much work to do to win the midfield battles and Finley, Laurence, Bradley and Tate cut out many Midhurst attacks and battled for those 50-50 balls. Midhurst were largely kept in check but they managed to score a second goal late on in the sixty-eighth minute, their only chance of the second half. Midhurst played the ball forward from their midfield into space behind the Horsham defence, who were pushed up forward just inside their own half. Two attackers timed their runs well, and were on side in behind the defence. The shot from just inside the box gave Louis no chance.
In the last minutes Horsham continued their attacks. Adam ended the game with a flourish, having a goal disallowed for offside and a shot from long range caught by the keeper.
At the final whistle it was Midhurst & Easbourne 2-6 Horsham
That scoreline suggests a match dominated by Horsham with sixteen shots on target to Midhurst’s four. However, the stats show that Horsham faced continual pressure from attacks on the right side of the pitch so Bernard, Tate and Harrison were kept busy throughout. Their solid defence allowed Midhurst only a single shot on goal in the second half. By contrast, Horsham attacked effectively down both sides with Cameron and Dan delivering penetrating crosses from the wings. As well as the goals, Horsham created five big chances that were not put away. Well done to Cameron (4) and Sam (2) who banked the goals but this was a fine team performance all round.
Manager Ian Scott commented: “Overall a very good performance. Tough when they came back to 2-1… we lost a bit of control but got it back. Roll on the quarter finals.”
Man of the Match: Dan