Horsham’s U13s travelled south for their League Cup final clash to do battle against a strong Rustington side and Storm Freya, grateful for the 3G facility at Worthing’s Woodside Road.
From the kick-off Horsham took the game to Rustington with some thoughtful passages of play and the young Hornets were committed to playing their exciting style of football – the team talks, inspirational notes and coaches’ tactics seemed to have been taken on board. Within a few minutes Horsham won a corner, the ball was played deep where Danny White controlled well to drive the ball into the top corner of the Rustington goal to give the Hornets the perfect start! This hit Otters hard and Horsham kept the pressure on with clever through balls into the forwards, who laid off to the wide players allowing Frankie Mills to step inside and secure Horsham’s second with a well taken goal. This spurred Rustington into life and they started to ask questions of the Horsham defence, who stood firm and even had to endure a scary moment when the assistant referee flagged for an Otters penalty, which was over-ridden by the referee and play continued. This saw the Amber and Green dig in against the tough conditions and a resilient Rustington side. When Stan Berry worked hard to make a seeking pass from a stretching tackle to find Frankie, he took the ball on the half volley to smash it past the Otters ‘keeper for Horsham’s third. This took the wind out of the Rustington sails as Horsham kept probing and it took a fingertip save from the Otters shot stopper, from a Nathan Jones shot, to steer the ball onto the post for the rebound to spin across the goalmouth and then out of play. This brought the first half to a halt with the young Hornets going into the break 3-0 up.
The players rehydrated and refuelled during the interval and were advised against a Rustington onslaught, which we knew would come. This proved right, as in the first few minutes of the restart Otters won a penalty. This was a game-changing moment and Monty Watson-Price, Horsham’s ‘keeper, was the player who made it happen. He dived to his left to make a superb save, then scrambled up to save again from the rebound, pulling off a magnificent double save. The final was now a tougher prospect as Rustington kept probing but the Horsham defence and ‘keeper kept them out while, at the other end, Horsham’s attacks were thwarted by the Otters ‘keeper who was producing some great saves. This game was now tight and as it wore on the next goal would be crucial. Thankfully it came for Horsham. Nathan Jones collected the ball wide left, he jinked inside his marker to shape a thunderous, curling shot around a defender and past the outstretched hands of the goalkeeper. Four nil to the Hornets, game won! Horsham relaxed and this allowed the young Amber and Green to enjoy the last ten minutes and add another goal. Zach Jeanes drove the ball goalwards and the’ keeper palmed the ball away into the path of Nathan Jones who coolly steered the ball into the net for a resounding fifth and Horsham had won the league cup for a second successive season!
“The squad played a massive part in allowing the club to win back to back League Cups” manager Paul Brown commented. “We had the players to change tactics and formations. The boys did a huge job today, played to their instructions and this allowed us to dominate early on. I want the boys to enjoy this moment to hopefully make them hungry for more success. We have achieved step one of the three step goal and now our focus has to be on the remaining league campaign to have the opportunity of achieving something special! We will enjoy this moment and our job as coaches is to get them ready for this coming Sunday, when we go again!”
Horsham: Monty Watson-Price, Theo Brown, Danny White, Ethan Nylon-Lwin, Cameron Cox, Finley Duneclift, Luke Harrison (cpt), Stan Berry, Frankie Mills, Zachary Jeanes, Nathan Jones
Substitutes: Joe Sherwood, Jasper Butterfill, Jack New, Denis Light, Rylan Shickell
Domino’s Man Of The Match: Frankie Mills
Champagne Moment: Monty Watson-Price’s double save from the Rustington penalty
Forthcoming fixtures – League games
Sun 10th March – Horsham v Worthing Town Blue
Sun 17th March – Horsham v Worthing United Colts