Horsham U12s picked up their first victory of the season with a terrific team performance away to Chichester City. The conditions were far from ideal in the cathedral city, with heavy showers and a swirling wind suggesting anything but an entertaining encounter but that’s precisely what we got as both teams sensibly kept the ball on the deck and created a number of goalscoring opportunities.
The conditions undoubtedly played its part in Horsham taking a 4th minute lead when a free-kick taken by Harrison Jones, tight to the touchline, went through a crowd of bodies, zipping off the wet turf and beating the goalkeeper at his near post. Chichester had a great chance to equalise when their own number four was picked out by a team-mate with only Zac Robinson to beat but the ‘keeper was in the right place to save his firmly-struck shot.
At the other end of the pitch, a defensive slip saw Alfie Russell race clear but this time it was the Chichester goalkeeper who came out on top with a good low save. Alfie was out of luck again, a minute later, when his first time shot smacked against the crossbar from a lovely Liam Beckham cross. But the Hornets had just two more minutes to wait before extending their lead when Liam showed great tenacity to win the ball and take on his opponent before shooting through the goalkeeper’s legs.
A goal-line clearance by Ryan Allen prevented Chichester’s number 8 from pulling a goal back, after taking the ball round Zac, but the Horsham goalkeeper was well-positioned to pluck a strong drive out of the air at his near post in the home team’s next attack.
Chichester began the second half in determined fashion but a promising attack went unrewarded by some good defending by the Hornets, who quickly crowded their opponents out and regained possession. Lucas Potter was a matter of inches away from connecting with a Callum Webb cross for the first of several chances created by Horsham after the break. A smart turn and shot by Zack Rhioui fizzed just past the ‘keeper’s right hand post and then Lucas put the ball over the bar from a corner. Charlie Little was next to try his luck, putting a half-volley just off target after Zack had shown good determination to win the ball in midfield and Zack put one wide of the goal and the advancing ‘keeper himself following a flick-on by Tom Wythers.
But it was Chichester who ended the match looking the more likely to score and it took a good stop by Zac to deny their striker a certain goal, the Hornets’ stopper reacting quickly to make a brave save at the forward’s feet after parrying the first attempt. Zac showed a safe pair of hands again when an excellent Chichester break took them half the length of the field. Then, as the rain finally relented with ten minutes left to play, another slick Chi move ended in disappointment for the hosts as the number 2 couldn’t quite steer the ball into the net with the outside of his right boot.
That was to prove to be the last noteworthy action of the match as the young Hornets safely negotiated the closing stages to finally get their campaign up and running at the fourth time of asking.
Horsham: Zac Robinson, Adam Gregory, Tom Wyhters, Harrison Jones, Charlie Little, Callum Webb, Liam Beckham, Lucas Potter, Dylan Howe, Jack McMillan, Alfie Russell, Dan Baxter, Zack Rhioui, Ryan Allen, Josh Baker, Daniel Smith Haggett