Jamie Irving’s under 14s squad, in a division of seven, where each team plays the others three times, are locked in a four-way battle for the top spot in Division One. Their game at Hove Riverdale was an opportunity to put daylight between them and the chasing pack but Riverdale had other ideas on Tuesday evening.

Having secured the title by dint of Eastbourne Town’s defeat at the hands of ASC Strikers earlier in the week, Andy DuVergier’s talented young side turned on the style in their final fixture of the season, an ‘away’ fixture hosted at the CWCS on Friday evening.

And there was also silverware up for grabs as Neil Vanson’s under 12s travelled to Oakwood FC in a bid to secure the League Cup on Sunday.

Hove Riverdale v Under 14s
Sussex Sunday Youth League Division One
Tuesday 9th April 2024
This rearranged fixture saw Jamie Irving’s young Hornets travel to play a Riverdale side determined to challenge their visitors and, in a game of two halves, it was they who took the lead after only a few minutes to put Horsham on the back foot. They continued to push the away side back, and in the ensuing aerial battle, got their second goal after fifteen minutes, from a corner.

Five minutes after the restart, C Austin received the ball on the right side and calmly slotted to halve the deficit and, shortly after, Horsham were level when J Harding snuck in to finish at the back post with a top quality equaliser.

A lapse in concentration then saw the home side take the lead once more, however the away side continued to throw all they could at the hosts and had M Musgrave to thank for a valuable point after his last minute equaliser from a corner in what was a gritty performance by those in amber and green.

G Scott’s courage, and hard work ethic stood out among some top individual performances earning a point to bring them level, with an identical record, with their next opponents Patcham United who they play in a crucial double header this coming Sunday.

F/T Hove Riverdale 3 Horsham 3

Haywards Heath Town v Under 13s
Mid Sussex Youth League Division One
Friday 12th April 2024

Horsham had the majority of the chances in the opening stages of the final game of the season but had to be wary of a Heath side whose tall forwards always looked dangerous on the break.

A free kick in the sixth minute was well-defended by Heath before they broke with purpose a minute later, winning them a corner, which was easily dealt with by the Hornets who then created a golden opportunity to take the lead minutes later. E Mitchell seemed to have the goal at his mercy but somehow managed to scoop a cross from the right high over the bar from six yards before J McEwan was unlucky to see his header loop just over the bar soon after.

And the chances continued to come Horsham’s way after J Millard’s surging run down the left led to two, quick fire, chances that Heath only just managed to thwart with last ditch clearances The goal frame then came to Heath’s rescue just after the 20 minute mark when a good save by the ‘keeper saw the ball squirm away and bounce off the post before the Hornets then hit the bar seconds later.

With Horsham dominant, Heath were guilty of a number of fouls in quick succession. One of which led to the withdrawal of A Burgess after a particularly robust challenge brought him crashing to the ground as he threatened to break away. Heath’s keeper was called into action once again just before the 30-minute mark when he saved well from but he was powerless to prevent the Hornets taking the lead two minutes before break with a well taken goal fired across the ‘keeper and into the far bottom corner.

Horsham were quick to add to their lead just after the break on 37 minutes when great perseverance by W Dexter on the goal-line saw his cut back turned in from close range and six minutes later the Hornets had a third when a good move led to the ball being slipped in under the ‘keeper.

As Heath tired, Horsham maintained good possession and went in search of further goals as good chances came their way. On the hour-mark they got further reward as W DuVergier slipped in J Willard who finished high into the roof of the net and this signalled a goal blitz in the final five minutes of the match.

On 65 minutes, J Scarborough was quickest to the loose ball after McEwan’s effort was saved and then, two minutes later, McEwan got his goal as he capitalised on a loose pass after Heath had attempted to play out from the back. There was still time, just before the final whistle, for Horsham to add a seventh goal. The ball bundled in after further good possession and build up play.

While some of their rivals still have games to play, this result ensures that Andy DuVergier’s talented squad will have at least a five-point lead over whoever finishes runners up in their division.

Emma Broadbridge’s match gallery can be found here

F/T Haywards Heath Town 0 Horsham 7

Three Bridges v Under 12s
Mid Sussex Youth League Cup Final 
Sunday 14th April 2024

The young Hornets made the short trip to Oakwood FC to play Three Bridges in the League Cup final but got off to a slow start and found themselves a goal down after ten minutes when Bridges capitalised after the Hornets defence were slow to react. Minutes later, Bridges doubled their lead when an ambitious shot from outside the box found its way into the roof of the net.

And with Horsham failing to get a grip of the game, and being beaten to the ball all too frequently, it wasn’t long before Bridges made it three with a header from a corner. However, with minutes of the half remaining, the Hornets were given a lifeline when R Edwards broke free and calmly rounded the goalkeeper to make it 3-1.

A different Horsham emerged for the second half and, after only three minutes, Edwards grabbed his second of the match to make it 2-3.

The contest then became a very stop-start, scrappy, affair with few chances but, with just over ten minutes remaining, Edwards pounced again and grabbed his hat-trick to make it level the scores underlying his position as the leagues top goalscorer but it was to be Bridges who would go on to score the vital goals in the remainder of the tie.

A well set-back ball and good finish at the far post was soon followed by a lovely curling shot into the top corner to put the game out of reach of the Hornets, on a day where Three Bridges were good value for their victory as Neil Vanson’s young squad suffered their first defeat of the season.

Despite the disappointing result, G Holmes was one of the stand out players for Horsham who can now turn their full attention to the league title and County Cup giving them plenty to play for in the coming few weeks.

F/T Three Bridges 5 Horsham 3

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *