Horsham’s U23s enjoyed a good workout at The Camping World Stadium last night, in which they were narrowly defeated by Woking in their latest pre-season friendly.

After an evenly matched opening ten minutes, the game’s first shot in anger saw Lewis Blaney save a long range effort from the visiting full-back  and that was shortly followed by a response by Dean Lovegrove, who put a 22 yard free-kick just over the crossbar. Woking then took control with two quickfire goals, the first a sweetly-struck 25 yarder by Jamie Buchanan that crashed into the roof of the net and the second a header by Kieran Harding after Blaney had done fantastically to keep out a close range header. The Hornets hit back, against the run of play, when a nice passing move resulted in Archie Goddard latching onto a through ball to touch it past the Woking ‘keeper to halve the deficit and give the hosts hope of completing the comeback in the second half.

But for the excellence of the visiting ‘keeper, Mark Hawthorne’s side would have found an early equaliser when, having turned away another effort from Lovegrove, he produced a wonderful point blank save from the resulting corner with the loose ball headed just over the bar by Goddard. Goddard thought he had his second of the night when he flicked the ball past the goalkeeper and into the net but was correctly ruled to have been in an offside position but Woking continued to provide a threat and Blaney was relieved to see a free-kick go narrowly wide of his left-hand post. The Hornets, though, were giving a good account of themselves and a fantastic run and turn by Harry Bryant ended with a toe-poked shot rolling agonisingly wide of the visitors’ goal in what was the final attempt of the match.

The Hornets host Horsham YMCA on Monday 19th August in their final friendly before opening their Bluefin Development League programme away to Three Bridges on 4th September.

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