Horsham U16s welcomed Hastings United to The Camping World Community Stadium for this second round County Cup fixture, following a rare weekend off, before which both sets of teams and supporters honoured the fallen with a well-respected minute’s silence.
The young Hornets were sent out with a clear directive, which showed promise early on as several chances came their way but were snuffed out with some good Hastings defence. Some nerves seemed to settle in to the yellows as the ball was not protected enough and when several clearances did not find their intended targets, Hastings delivered a superb cross that was met with a great header to put them one up. For some reason this early set back settled Horsham and, despite being a goal down, they started to produce some really good football which resulted in a corner that was sent deep by Aden Radojevic towards Diego Carmo who controlled well before firing home the equaliser.
Now momentum started to turn, the yellows began to unlock more opportunities, and from here Radojevic collected the ball in midfield, skilfully evaded several tackles to make himself space to get a cracking shot away, past the diving keeper and into the Hastings net. It was pure brilliance and put Horsham 2-1 in front. With the first half drawing to a close, Ben Aubrey latched onto a superb through ball, knocking it past the desperate Hastings keeper who only managed to take him down. Penalty to the Hornets! Sam Andrews stepped up to dispatch a thunderous shot into the top corner, putting Horsham 3-1 up on the stroke of half-time. Time to recover and take more instructions on how to set up for the second half!
Horsham started the second period the brighter, limiting the Hastings chances with good lines, solid defence and steady handling from Dylan in the Horsham goal. This created space for the yellows to explore, with shots hitting the posts or well saved by the Hastings shot stopper. As the half wore on it was the Hornets who dominated and when Radojevic found the overlapping run from Ryan Baldwin, he calmed himself to fire home a Horsham fourth. This allowed the home team to show a very resilient side to their shape, repelling anything Hastings could throw their way, ensuring the only passes available were backwards. This was how the game played out, with Horsham succeeding to progress into the next round of the county cup.
Horsham: Dylan Bond, Diego Carmo, Jamie Rodd (cpt), Matty Pepper, Ryan Baldwin, Sam Andrews, Harvey Woollard, Gui Costa, Callum Chesworth, Ben Aubrey, Aden Radojevic
Subs: Charlie Nunn, Zach Hughes, Archie Fuller, Jonny Ruiz, Jack Charman.