Horsham U12s travelled down to Worthing on Sunday for a top of the table clash at the midway point of the season. Worthing sat second in the league, three points behind Horsham but with two games in hand and were currently unbeaten in the league. The game kicked off and Worthing’s attacking intentions were clear from the start. Playing an attacking 2-4-2 formation, which often turned into a 1-5-3, meaning Horsham’s wide players Bailey Moyo, George Lee and Stanley Hague had to support their full-backs throughout the game, which they did superbly. The danger with this tactic is that they were often leaving their defender one on one at the back with the Horsham centre forwards Thom Ong and Markos Panoutsos.

The chances were few and far between in the first half and it was an intriguing physical contest between two good sides. When either side did manage to find themselves in a position to release a forward the offside flag was raised, sometimes questionably. Bailey Moyo was causing problems for Worthing down the left in the early exchanges supported well by Harry Lawson who also favoured pulling out to this side from centre mid in support. The first chance came for Horsham on five minutes when Captain Harry Lawson was pulled down for a free kick on the edge of the box. Luke York played the ball square for Bailey Moyo who hit one of his long range specials, the only surprise was that it hit the top of the bar with the keeper well beaten.

Horsham had two further chances in the half, both falling to the captain. On nineteen minutes he had an effort from distance that was fired over, the second cane when he was played in but a heavy first touch took the ball gratefully into the ‘keepers arms. On twenty-five minutes was a real turning point in the game. The Worthing number nine was played in over the top with a rare mix up at the back. As good as the Horsham defence were in this game, Alex Maynard was needed on this occasion and he was quick to come off his line and save brilliantly with his legs to keep the score level going in at the break.

H/T Worthing Town Blue 0 Horsham Youth 0

The second half kicked off, and like Arsenal this season, Horsham seem to like scoring in the second half of games. On thirty-three minutes Luke York threaded a superb ball through for Harry Lawson but he unfortunately put his shot wide of the post. Two minutes later Horsham broke the deadlock, Thom Ong who had chased and harried all game closed down the defender and then the ‘keeper, the latter making an error who passed straight to Harry Lawson who was the second press and fired home to put Horsham in the lead. A minute later, Sonny Barton who had his usual battling midfield display played the pass of the game to put Harry Lawson through on the right side of the penalty area, the finish complemented the pass going in off the far upright.

Worthing were still in the game at this point though and on thirty-eight minutes had their second clear cut chance of the game when their centre forward rounded Alex Maynard in the Horsham goal only to put his shot into the side netting when the goal was gaping. The remainder of the game was scrappy, Bailey Moyo was unlucky on forty-six minutes when his free kick on the left side of the box struck the bottom of the near post, a good chance by his standards. Markos Panoutsos also came close a few minutes later when he dispossessed the defender only to miscue his shot and it was well saved. The Worthing players were getting frustrated late on in the game and leaving a foot in with a lot of their challenges, the worst being on Luke York when he had visible stud marks on his back.

Horsham Youth Manager’s Comments: “What a performance. They were all excellent against a big physical side. We said to them at half-time to win their battles and not force that ball in the final third, the pass on the angle was always on as they often had one defender at the back. A special mention has got to go to our defenders in this game, it wasn’t pretty but Elliott Evans, Luke York, Adan Rubin and especially Jacob Pugh were brilliant. They often don’t get credit as they’re not scoring but I certainly appreciate a clean sheet”.

Horsham:  Alex Maynard, Jacob Pugh, Luke York, Elliott Evans, Adan Rubin, George Lee, Sonny Barton, Harry Lawson, Bailey Moyo, Stanley Hague, Thom Ong, Markos Panoutsos

Scorers: Harry Lawson (2)

Man of the Match:  Jacob Pugh & Harry Lawson

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