Sunday 7th January 2018
Arun & Chichester League Challenge Cup semi-final
The New Year kicked off in disappointing fashion for Horsham Amber, as they were comprehensively beaten by Rustington Otters in Sunday’s semi-final of the Challenge Cup. Benefitting from strong winds that swept across the 3G surface at Arun Leisure Centre, Horsham struck first when Joe Simpkin controlled a defence-splitting ball from captain Sam Handerson and coolly finished into the bottom corner. The home side struggled to handle the surging runs of Henderson from midfield as Horsham briefly dictated play but they spurned a great chance to double their lead when Simpkin couldn’t pick out his strike partner Zain Beg for what would surely have been a simple finish. Otters gradually started to dominate, particularly down the flanks, and shortly after a fine stop from Will Scurr, they deservedly equalised after an unchallenged run down the right wing.
Taking advantage of a strong bench and with the wind now behind them, Rustington took the lead moments after the second half whistle had blown and were rarely threatened again. Horsham’s fading hopes of a comeback diminished with the departure of their captain to injury. Manager Tony Massimo will have been disappointed by the lack of leadership shown in his absence and by how quickly his side capitulated. Rustington moved through the midfield at will and when Horsham did regain the ball, they were uncharacteristically wasteful in possession. It was only determined defending that prevented an even greater winning margin, with Tom Matthews and substitute Lewis Bridle among the few who continued to battle until the final whistle.
Horsham: Will Scurr, Tom Matthews, Isaac Small, Max Morris, Josh Buttle, Leighton Read, Joe Stevens, Sam Henderson, Max Warren, Joe Simpkin, Zain Beg
Subs: Nico Massimo, Lewis Bridle