Harry Brooker stole the show, grabbing a brace, to earn the Hornets a narrow victory over Roffey FC reserves in their second pre-season match.
With both club chairman, Kevin Borrett, and committee chairman, Sean Bravery, watching on, Brooker’s brace and Manu Da Luz’s piledriver earned the young Hornets their first win under head coach Mark Hawthorne.
In a largely uneventful first half, Horsham had plenty of possession, and a degree of control, with the experienced Dean Lovegrove pulling the strings in midfield.
However, neither side could fashion any decent chances until Roffey took advantage of some confusion in the Horsham box following a corner from the left. Chris Maxted was first to react, neatly converting a close-range header that gave debutant 16-year-old goalkeeper Leo Anderson no chance.
A goal down at the break, it only took the Hornets’ second-half substitute Brooker three minutes to make his mark, as he met a low cross into the box to put the ball beyond Luke Reeves.
As the second half progressed, and with both managers introducing several substitutes, the game became more stretched and chances were made at both ends. The best of which came in the 60th minute when Horsham’s substitute keeper Jack Gunn made a great stop from point-blank range.
But the home side restored their lead shortly after, from another corner, through midfielder Nick Cranston.
Horsham were not behind for long however, with the equaliser coming from Da Luz’s right-foot cracker, flying into the net from 20 yards.
As the game moved into the closing minutes, and heading for a draw, Lovegrove picked up the ball, looked up, and hit a glorious 40-yard pass for Brooker to latch on to, and place beyond the Roffey keeper.
The young Hornets next face Littlehampton Town tomorrow (Monday August 5) in their first ever home friendly. Kick-off is at 7.45pm, at the Camping World Community Stadium.
Report by Darryl Jacobs