Horsham picked up another win on the road away at Cheshunt, to climb to third in the BetVictor Ismian League Premier, but they had their hosts to thank, as Ibrahim Diallo turned into his own net on 61 minutes for what turned out to be the winning goal in an otherwise scrappy encounter. Cheshunt would then go down to nine men as both Mark Hughes and Mo Camara were shown two yellow cards and sent off as the hosts’ chances of salvaging anything from the contest evaporated late on.
Both sides had earned promotion at the end of last season winning their respective play-off finals, with The Ambers going up from the South Central Division. However, the contrast in the table showed the starts both sides had made, with Cheshunt languishing in the lower end, while Horsham have enjoyed a positive start to their campaign. That said, the visitors were determined to put aside the disappointment from last weekend, when they exited the FA Cup at home to Dartford.
For Horsham fans who travelled to Hertfordshire, this wasn’t a game that will live long in the memory, with the synopsis above, largely covering around 99% of the action in game.
It took nine minutes for the first effort on goal. A slugglish Harry Mills got caught in possession by Dopo Akinyemi, and the forward charged down the left flank and crossed low towards Henry Landers, with Cheshunt’s new signing getting a shot away and forcing a good save for George Bentley who tipped it away.
It took a further ten minutes for the next chance, when Horsham fashioned an opening. The tireless Zack Newton steaming down the wing unopposed, then cutting inside to trick his marker, he paused and then passed low into the box towards Charlie Harris, however The Ambers cleared before the midfielder could pull the trigger.
Mark Hughes then earned the first of his two bookings when he cynically went through the back of Chris Smith as Horsham won a free kick, but the resulting effort was sent over by Harris and ultimately smashed well over on the volley by Smith.
Horsham however were beginning to impose themselves on the game as they began to control midfield, with just over half an hour on the clock, they countered quickly and cycled the ball out to Newton who ran deep into Cheshunt’s half, he then shifted to his left foot where he was forced to turn possession over to Smith, and the striker took aim with a low shot along the turf that was pushed out for a corner by goalkeeper Harry Girling.
The Hornets should have been a goal to the good four minutes from the break but for an unbelievable miss from Smith. With the cross coming in, he only needed to touch the ball over the line as Horsham fans awaited a simple tap in, but instead he took a touch to control the ball, as Chatham miraculously blocked him on the line.
Smith again was guilty of another miss to put Horsham in front on the stroke of half time, as Cheshunt went to sleep at the back. This time with the ball coming in from the left wing where he missed it, Newton had the chance with the follow up as he hit first time but directly into Joe Russell, Horsham immediately regained possession and sent another low ball into Smith who this time blazed well over.
H/T: Cheshunt 0 Horsham 0
Despite the frenetic finish to the first half, the second half simply failed to ignite with the first quarter hour going by without note, but on 61 minutes, a chance and a goal arrived. Harris got fortunate with a ricochet as he emerged from a challenge near the corner flag, and he zipped in a low cross towards the near post, that was accidentally turned into the net by Ibrahim Diallo as Lee Harding put him under pressure.
With Cheshunt enforcer Hughes walking a tightrope from his earlier booking, and having gone most of the game nibbling at Harris’ heels, it was little surprise on 70 minutes to anyone when referee Michael Begley issued him a second yellow card, when he gave away another freekick and allowed his temper to boil over as he argued with both Harris and the referee.
Despite their man advantage, Horsham looked no more likely than Cheshunt to find the back of the net as both sides laboured, although Harding did manage to get to the byline and cross low into the box, but The Ambers defended and conceded a corner with substitute Kieran Lavery waiting inside the box.
Cheshunt’s afternoon then got worse. Or Horsham’s got better. With ten minutes remaining, any chance the home side might have had totally disappeared as Mr Begley showed another second yellow card for persistent infringement by Mo Camara.
With the clock ticking down, a hopeful effort from Akinyemi summed up Cheshunt’s day as Bentley made a comfortable catch at chest height, but really Horsham should have killed off the match 50 seconds later. With acres of space now available in midfield, Alex Kelly skipped through and past his man and slipped an inviting ball into the path of Kieron Pamment, the forward really should have scored, as he hit it low, but he struck too close to Girling who made a brave save low down to thwart him.
Horsham are away once more on Tuesday evening when we head to King George’s Field to take on Corinthian Casuals, before we return for a home league fixture next weekend against high flying Hornchurch.
Reporter: Matt Dale
Photos below by John Lines