Horsham made the relatively short trip down the A23 and over the South Downs to the Enclosed Ground at East Brighton Park to take on Isthmian Youth League rivals Whitehawk on Monday night and were to play their part in a thrilling game of football under the floodlights.
The young Hornets welcomed back forward A Adam after a period of absence (trial at Charlton and injury) and he was to play a pivotal role in the performance of the team that took the game to their hosts in the early stages.
On seven minutes Adam capitalised on a defensive mix up and flashed a shot wide. Five minutes later Hornets ‘keeper, G Edgley, batted a dangerous ball across his six yard box away to safety and then Horsham went close in the 13th minute as another Adam shot was parried and K Symonds couldn’t quite stretch far enough to reach the rebound.
Playing down the significant slope it wasn’t long before M Morris brought a good save from the Whitehawk ‘keeper, S Lomas, who pushed the 25 yard shot over for a corner and it wasn’t long after this that Horsham made the breakthrough.
A slick passing move saw Adam lay the ball off to J Archard who then slipped in the advancing Symonds. Symonds had held his run well and strode forward, as Whitehawk appealed in vain for off side reaching the ball just before the on rushing Lomas and poking it under the ‘keeper to put the Hornets 1-0 up on 21 minutes.
The lead was to last just five minutes as a move on the Whitehawk left saw a speculative shot, which appear to heading into the safe hands of G Edgley, take a wicked deflection off the unfortunate F Knight and spin beyond a flat footed Edgley.
The impetus of their equalizer energized Whitehawk and they took the lead on 33 minutes with a move down their right leaving the forward to a one on one with Edgley, the pace of the shot beating him at his near post. Horsham however weren’t to be disheartened and a good move down the left saw E Moteane played in and, after driving forward 25 yards, deliver a deep cross to the far post which was met by Adam to open his scoring account and leave the scores level before the half time came to an end.
After a slight adjustment to formation at half time, and a minute into the second half, Horsham won a free kick on the edge of the penalty area which Adam placed well but without sufficient pace to trouble Lomas and soon after Hawks number 7, Billie Clark, hit a wonderful strike, which had the sprawling Edgley beaten, but which thankfully, crashed against the crossbar and away to safety.
On 54 minutes Horsham found themselves behind for the second time after they conceded a free-kick on their left. Clipped into the area Horsham left the Whitehawk number nine, T Reeder, unmarked and he took the room afforded him by smashing a volley beyond Edgley from eight yards out. Soon after Adam was first to a parry by the Lomas and had the ball in the net before seeing the assistant referees flag raised for an off side infringement just when he thought he had levelled once more.
Horsham rode their luck once more after conceding another free kick on the hour, this time on their right. The well placed wall could only watch as Reeder curled a low strike around them only to see the effort bounce off the inside of Edgley’s left hand post and back across the goal line before being scrambled away to safety. At this point Horsham, and with Horsham facing a literal up hill battle in this period of the game, Mark Hawthorne made the first of his three changes introducing B Matthews for the ever reliable N Guest in midfield with 20 minutes remaining.
Soon after Horsham were level and Adam was again at the heart of the move advancing rapidly, having been played in neatly by Archard, and smashing a low drive which Lomas did well to save only to see the loose ball nodded in by the invigorated A Macleod, on who had been given licence to play further up the pitch.
Hawthorne then brought fresh legs on replacing Knight with C Nunn on 76 minutes and shortly after this Horsham thought they’d made the breakthrough that they’d hoped would see them claim all three points. Adam burst forward in typical fashion, getting beyond his marker, and was bundled over with referee Hamilton pointing to the spot immediately.
Up stepped captain Archard to take the kick and put a good strike to the left of Lomas who saved brilliantly. Quickest to the rebound was Matthews who’s header from six yards crashed against the underside and bounced down the wrong side of the goal line before being cleared to safety.
S Chikowore then replaced Symonds on 82 minutes and the young Hornets held out for the remainder of the game, including five minutes of added time, to take a well deserved point to add to the three they picked up last week at home to Bognor Regis Town.
Manager MoM – A Macleod
Report by Shaun Scott