Sunday 5th January 2020
Mid-Sussex League Division 1
Cuckfield Cosmos United U16 1 Horsham FC U16 3
The New Year saw Horsham’s table-topping U16s travel to Cuckfield, resuming their league campaign on a grass pitch that would have been more suited to pastoral farming.
The early exchanges were evenly placed, no real threat for both ‘keepers to deal with as the players were getting used to this extremely difficult pitch where the bounce, roll and bobble seemed to be hard to judge. However, an early breakthrough was presented to the hosts as the young Hornets failed to stand up, in attempting to prevent a mazy run that saw a cross put away by the Cosmos attackers. This early lead allowed United to keep up with their tough style of football; timewasting, niggly fouls and general non-footballing style, trying to unsettle our calm, passing game and this worked as Cuckfield went in at half time with a slender 1-0 lead.
The management team had to resort to a bad cop, good cop scenario in the changing room and, with a switch in formation, the Horsham players were sent out for the second half.
The early moments of the new half were similar to the first, with no real threat coming from either side and both sets of players still struggling with the pitch conditions. As the half wore on there was a shift of momentum, our dominant side started to show their character and skill. Overcoming the bullying tactics of their hosts, the young Hornets started to buzz around. The ball was being worked well out wide and crosses coming in but none evading the Cosmos ‘keeper, who collected well. As the half wore on Horsham kept pressing and, with about ten minutes remaining, a free-kick was won, the delivery from Sam Andrews found a host of white shirts attacking the ball but it was Diego Carmo who claimed the final touch to secure an equaliser.
The whole game now had a totally different complexion and, a few minutes after the equaliser, Horsham delivered another cross which was not dealt with by Cuckfield allowing Harvey Woolard the chance to head home past the flailing Cosmos ‘keeper. The three points were now on a knife edge, as Cuckfield were massively wounded and wanted to salvage something with only minutes remaining, However, Horsham kept up their immense attacking pressure and when some great work between the midfield and strikers released Aden Radojevic, he was brought down in the box. This allowed Radojevic to step up and convert his penalty, putting Horsham 1-3 up with a few seconds left.
Three points secured on a difficult pitch, against a difficult team and a potential banana skin.
Horsham: Luke Reeves, Diego Carmo, Jamie Rodd (cpt), Zach Hobson-Hughes, Jack Charman, Gui Costa, Callum Chesworth, Sam Andrews, Harvey Woolard, Ben Aubrey, Aden Radojevic.
Subs: Charlie Nunn, Tom Ayling, Archie Fuller, Jonny Ruiz, Harry Sutton
Scorers: Diego Carmo, Harvey Woolard, Aden Radojevic