Horsham U23s welcomed Ramsgate to The Camping World Community Stadium last night for a Bluefin Development League match and showed early signs of understandable rustiness after a fortnight’s absence.
Slow out of the blocks, they allowed their opponents to take an early lead that would have been doubled but for the woodwork. But this was probably the wake-up call the young Hornets needed as they went on to play some exquisite football, first levelling the scores on 25 minutes and then going on to score four more unanswered goals in the second half to maintain their 100% winning start to the season.
The opening 10 minutes was fairly even as both sides probed and sparred with each other without creating much in the way of chances. The Rams then started to control possession, with their pacy diminutive forwards Max Glet and Thomas Finn looking a threat and it was the latter who opened the scoring when a good run into the Hornets box saw him get past right back Ned Pierre. Although stopped by Trent Fawcett, the referee spotted a foul and pointed to the spot. Having won the penalty, Finn stepped forward to confidently send the ball beyond the reach of Horsham ‘keeper Lewis Blaney.
Just after that, the Rams were very unlucky not to go two up when a good run and cross from the right wing found Riley Twyman unmarked but his header just skimmed over the bar. This was a good spell for the visitors and Finn looked a threat once more with a run on goal that ended with a low left foot shot just wide.
Gradually Horsham managed to get into the game and the right flank combination of Pierre and JJ O’Sullivan, playing as a winger, created a few problems for the Rams.
The equaliser came unexpectedly when the visitors’ defence made a bit of a mess of clearing a hopeful ball in and it fell kindly for Horsham’s William Gordon, who made no mistake from close range. Shortly after, Matieus Mulugeta played in O’Sullivan, whose shot forced a good block from visiting ‘keeper Carl McCourt who did well again to save the follow-up effort from Mulugeta, turning it away for a corner. In the closing stages of the half, with Horsham finishing strongly, a long speculative cross from Kieran Britland was dropped by McCourt but there was no one on hand to take advantage.
H/T: Horsham 1 Ramsgate 1
The young Hornets started the second half as they had left off, only now they looked more organised – squeezing a little higher up the pitch and giving striker Archie Goddard, who had been left isolated at times in the first half, more support from midfield.
Gordon went close when racing through on goal but fired just wide of the post and Harry Law forced a block from the keeper. Then, in the 51st minute, Horsham took the lead through that man Goddard, with his 9th goal of the season, slotting the ball home from inside the box. A short while later a cross from Pierre, having a fine game, was met with a firm header by Law but the ‘keeper saved well.
It was a breakaway that led to Horsham extending the lead when Goddard, managing to stay onside, found himself in space and closed in on goal but as he rounded the ‘keeper he lost control of the ball. Thankfully Gordon was on hand to gobble up the chance and tap in from close range to put Horsham 3-1 up. The young Hornets were really enjoying themselves now and, with the game under complete control, Mark Hawthorne brought on new signing Sam Karl for Lewis Kelly, who had put in a good shift, and introduced Sam Gallagher for Gordon.
The substitutes fitted in seamlessly and both were to have a positive impact on the game. First Gallagher scored following a neat interchange of passes in the 72nd minute and then Karl made it 5-1 with the goal of the match, probably the goal of the season! Picking the ball up on the left, just inside the opponents’ half, he set off on a mazy run that left four players in his wake and, as he was confronted by the Rams ‘keeper, he dribbled past him to walk the ball into the net. It was a tremendous debut goal that had the Horsham supporters purring in delight.
Next up for the Hornets will be reigning champions Tooting & Mitcham United, on Monday 21st October. Kick-off at the Camping World Community Stadium is 7.45 pm
Horsham: Lewis Blaney, Ned Pierre , Kieran Britland, Joel Mann (c),Trent Fawcett, JJ O’Sullivan, Lewis Kelly (Sam Karl) , Harry Law, Matieus Mulugeta, William Gordon (Sam Gallagher), Archie Goddard (Harry Brooker)