The Hornets fell out of the FA Trophy at the first hurdle against fellow Isthmian Premier League side Haringey Borough as Horsham put in a disappointing performance in North London.
The previous weekend had seen the hosts make national headlines, sadly for all the wrong reasons. In their FA Cup game against Yeovil Town, it was alleged that goalkeeper Valary Pajetat was subjected to racism, spat at and had missiles thrown at him, and consequently the home side walked off the pitch in the 64th minute forcing the game to be abandoned.
In an act of solidarity, Horsham’s players wore United Against Racism t-shirts during the warm up and held a guard of honour for the home side before changing into their traditional all green away strip as the teams lined up against each other.
Horsham made five changes to their squad from Tuesday evening, and perhaps the most noticeable name on the starting line-up was the inclusion of club legend Gary Charman, making his first start for his hometown club since his departure in 2015. Despite the result, the Tottenham Hotspur fan must have been delighted to line up once again for The Hornets, with Borough’s ground along White Hart Lane, just a 20-minute walk from Spurs’ impressive new stadium. Unfortunately, despite being named as captain, Charman had an afternoon he would probably want to forget in his long career at the club.
Borough themselves also made five changes to their line up from the previous weekend, with – understandably – one eye on their Tuesday night game to be replayed against Yeovil, but while they would have considered this game to be less important, Horsham failed to take advantage as Dom Di Paola’s side put in a poor display. However, as poor as Horsham were, Haringey Borough were excellent and their quick movement up front – especially from Michael Ademiluyi – caused Horsham’s defence problems all afternoon.
Put simply, for Horsham it was a miserable afternoon. Yes, Haringey’s fans might well have felt their win had a sense of poetic justice given what had preceded this game, but Horsham might well argue that they allowed their hosts too much respect as they found themselves 2-0 down by half time thanks to goals from Michael Ademiluyi and Chiduben Onokwai, and when Jorge Djassi Sambu added a third, Horsham’s misery was compounded when they missed a penalty late on, while Rob O’Toole and Charman both came off injured.
The game underway, Horsham’s Zack Newton was let down by his touch on 11 minutes when he attempted to rush onto a long ball over, but Pajetat dealt with the danger easily.
His opposite number, George Bentley found himself in referee Mark Pond’s book two minutes later when he brought down Ademiluyi who had attempted to play the ball beyond him during a one-on-one, the pacy midfielder taking the ball one way and dropping his shoulder as the Horsham shot-stopper clattered him outside the box. Haringey’s vocal supporters demanded a red card, but Mr. Pond rightly issued him with a yellow. The resulting set piece was sent wide.
With Horsham’s start sluggish, it was of little surprise when Haringey Borough went in front on 24 minutes. A long ball was beautifully taken down by Ademiluyi as Steve Metcalf lost him and the forward drove the ball low down, into the far corner.
Less than ten minutes later, Borough nearly claimed a second goal, but for a super block by Bentley who batted away at close range from Chidubeh Onokwai who had done well to bring down the ball and get a shot away inside the box.
With half time approaching, Horsham felt they might have had a penalty when Lee Harding appeared to be caught with an arm Konstantinos Alexandrou as the two tussled inside the box for an aerial ball but referee Mark Pond waved for play to continue.
Horsham fans must have felt that they just needed to get to the interval with the score at 1-0, but instead they found themselves 2-0 down with a mountain to climb. Charman earnt himself a booking in what appeared to be a pull back on Onokwai as he swung at thin air. To make matters worse, the unlucky captain then took the full impact of Romoluwa Akinola’s freekick to the face and as the ball dropped kindly to Onokwia, the Borough striker prodded in the loose ball.
H/T: Haringey Borough 2 Horsham 0
Early in the second half, Newton felt he should have had a penalty when he was grappled and went to ground under pressure from Salvyn Kisitu although again the referee remained unmoved.
But Haringey’s efficiently up front essentially killed off the game on 56 minutes. A super ball through the middle from Onokwai carved Horsham’s defence open and Jorge Djassi Sambu proved the coolest man in North London who finished sweetly beyond Bentley.
It almost got worse for The Hornets when Ademiluyi again showed electric pace to chase down a high and hopeful ball, as he cut inside at the by-line before pulling back to Djassi Sambu, this time though the hitman clattered the top of the post.
However in the final ten minutes, Horsham began to play some football after Jack Brivio had fired a desperate shot well over. A cleverly dinked ball out wide found Lee Harding who managed to turn around to face goal and curl a fine effort that was tipped away acrobatically by Pajetat.
Having been the main target of the alleged abusive behaviour the previous week, it was perhaps fitting that the Cameroonian goalkeeper would produce several outstanding saves in the final ten minutes as he thwarted Horsham to ensure Borough would keep a clean sheet. Alexandrou was penalised for a handball inside the box, and up stepped Charlie Harris. Yet Pajetat was equal to the effort, diving to his left to palm away, while he followed up with a double stop to deny Newton from tucking in the rebound.
Horsham might well have been frustrated with how he had managed to deny them any form of consolation, but this was an ideal way for him to say thank you for the support and backing he had received, and the ‘keeper would pull out another superb save as the clock ticked down, this time diving to tip away a long-range effort from Harry Mills as the Borough fans chanted his name at the final whistle.
Horsham will have a sense of déjà vu when they return back to Coles Park next weekend. Dom Di Paola’s side will hope they can quickly avenge their loss when the matter of league points are up for grabs.
Reporter: Matt Dale
Match photos below by John Lines