Horsham U12s travelled down to Worthing United for this League Cup Semi Final clash and have been in fine form of late. This game was the fourth meeting between the two sides having already played home and away in the league and drawn against each other in the County Cup. The previous games all went for Horsham, winning 12-2 on aggregate. The away fans expected a comfortable win, but as is always the way, a semi final in the cup and the young hornets couldn’t afford to be complacent which is how it turned out.

The game kicked off and Horsham went in to an early lead on 2 minutes. Sonny Barton delivered an excellent cross which found Stanley Hague unmarked at the far post to head in from close range. Minutes later Horsham had another good chance. Sonny Barton’s through ball found Thom Ong who in turn played an excellent pass to Harry Lawson to go through one on one with the ‘keeper, he unfortunately just slid the ball wide of the post.

Horsham were dominant and were playing some really good football. On 18 minutes it was 2-0 with a slick passing move, Harry Lawson drove into the heart of the defence and found Bailey Moyo with a back heel, Bailey’s left footed strike could only be parried by the Worthing ‘keeper and fell into the path of the predatory Markos Panoutsos to stroke the ball home.

On 26 minutes Horsham found the net again, Bailey Moyo made another excellent run from the wide left position and struck a shot that hit the inside of the post and Markos Panoutsos put the ball in the net. The linesman’s flag wasn’t raised but the referee was asking if the player was offside. The linesman appeared to be saying ‘no’ but the referee still insisted on having a discussion which resulted in the goal being chalked off!? It remained 2-0……..

Jacob Pugh and Adan Rubin were getting tight to the dangerous ‘17’ up front for Worthing and putting in some good tackles to keep him quiet all half. A minute before half time Sonny Barton made a good run in to the heart of the Worthing defence and struck a shot that cannoned off the post. Horsham went in at half time 2-0 up but in truth it should’ve been three or four!

H/T: Worthing United 0 Horsham Youth 2

The second half was a different game altogether, Horsham kicked off and the defence tried to play out from the back and the ball was immediately given away to the danger man up front for Worthing, he was bought down by Luke York on the edge of the box earning himself a yellow card, this then set the tone for the remainder of the half.

A few minutes later Worthing reduced the deficit when the ‘17’ was put through on goal and finished neatly past Alex Maynard in the Horsham goal. On 36 minutes Horsham’s Centre half Luke York rolled his ankle and had to be subbed, from this point the Horsham defence looked nervous and stopped playing their football. Similar to their nervy County Cup win against Coldean, the missed opportunities in the first half were seemingly coming back to haunt them.

The game was now scrappy and Worthing were winning every first and second ball, the game was bypassing the Horsham midfield who usually dominate teams but little they could do when it was sailing over their heads. On 42 minutes Worthing found the equaliser when again the number 17 was put through and with his pace outstripped the Horsham defence and fired an unstoppable shot past Alex Maynard. 2-2.

At this stage of the game Horsham heads dropped and Worthing really had their tails up, Luke York was bought back on after recovering from the earlier injury, but there was little he could do as on 52 minutes Worthing got their third goal to go ahead for the first time in the game. 3-2.

This game was turning into a cup thriller and the finish didn’t disappoint. With 7’ minutes remaining Horsham changed formation as they were running out of time to score and take the game to extra time. They went from a 3-4-1 to a 2-4-2 with Adan Rubin being pushed into midfield and Sam Ayling joining Markos Panoutsos up front. It was this change, or the nervousness of the Worthing players, but this seemed to do the trick. On 55’ minutes Sam Ayling got his head on a cross from the right but under challenge from the ‘keeper the ball just looked over the bar after it appeared to be heading in.

A minute later a spilled shot from Horsham saw Markos Panoutsos follow up well to a bouncing ball only to see his effort crash of the underside of the bar and, with no goal line technology, safely into the ‘keepers hands. It looked like it wasn’t going to be a cup final day for Horsham. With just 2’ minutes of the game remaining Bailey Moyo won a free kick on the corner of the 18 yard box. This was possibly the last chance for Horsham to take the game to extra time. The same player was told he was on free kicks at the start of the game…..and for good reason. He stepped up and unleashed an unstoppable shot past the Worthing ‘keeper and in at the far post to the joyous celebrations of the staff and travelling supporters. 3-3.

With the game now destined for extra time as we were 2 minutes into time added on, man of the match Bailey Moyo had other ideas. He went on another mazy run through the heart of the Worthing defence beating two players before being bought down in the box by the third player. Penalty! Luke York stepped up and smashed the ball past the Worthing ‘keeper and it was jubilation for Horsham in a game that had everything. 4-3 to Horsham. The Final whistle was blown moments after the kick off and a ‘proper cup tie’ drew to a close.

F/T: Worthing United 3 Horsham Youth 4

Manager’s Comments: “What a game……we should have won it in the first half really, credit to Worthing who kept going. The injury to Luke (York) was a massive turning point in the game and their centre forward who is a really good player took full advantage. In the end the boys dug out the result, as all good sides do. Bailey Moyo was superb and his strike for the free kick was different class.”

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

Scorers:  Stanley Hague, Markos Panoutsos, Bailey Moyo, Lu

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