28 April 2019
Title hopefuls denied at the last
U14s defeated in championship decider
There were a few detours on the way but we all managed to meet on a beautiful sunny morning in Angmering in anticipation of a glorious performance to match the glorious weather. After a shaky start, Rustington took the lead four minutes in with a ball across goal from the left that ricocheted luckily, leaving Horsham shell-shocked. The Hornets seemed to be slower to everything and the Otters’ lead was doubled seven minutes in with lax defending from a corner and the resulting melee in the box caused the ball to be lashed home.
The pressure continued from Rustington as they fired across goal and wide after ten minutes. Horsham were on the back foot and struggling to retain possession. Fortunately the game settled down and a more even ten minutes followed with Rustington failing to carve out any clear cut chances. A sign of Horsham waking up and growing into the game was a strong run from Sam and a shot blocked for a corner. A spell of Horsham pressure followed, but Rustington were fired up and put a ball across goal with no one to convert. Bradley had a run from midfield and a low long shot which drifted wide of the left hand post. With the teams at a seeming stalemate, a long ball allowed Rustington to run through and convert for 3-0. A disappointing half concluded with Horsham three goals down.
The second half started brighter for Horsham, the boys were passing better and defending more confidently. Four minutes in and the deficit had been reduced after Sam chased down a defender and Finlay finished low under the ‘keeper. Horsham were playing with more intensity and using the space on the pitch better. A cross-shot over the bar served to awaken the Horsham defence and Bernard’s tracking of their left winger put him off a few minutes later, with the shot trickling wide of Louis’ post. A terrific block from Matt at left-back stopped a likely goal as Rustington sought to finish Horsham off. The corner found a free head but over the crossbar it went. But the pressure told and the home side added a fourth after decent passing to create time in the Horsham box.
Dan got free with around twenty minutes to go but his shot was blocked by the onrushing goalkeeper. Horsham seemed mentally drained and, like in the first half, struggled to keep the ball. In time, the pressure wore the boys down and a second ball from a corner led to a goal from lax marking at the back post. Horsham still seemed to lack defensive confidence and a long ball caused a three-on-one, with Louis reading the situation very well to smother the ball and stop a clear chance.
A nice play of short passing from Horsham led Finlay to play a ball across goal. A lot of good play was now coming down Horsham’s left hand side and with ten minutes to go a shot was saved, but our tiredness left us vulnerable on the counter. Like last week a catalogue of mistakes from across the back line led to the home team adding three goals. Being seven goals ahead, Rustington fired in a swerving long shot which Louis punched wide. And so it ended 8-1 to the home side. A very disappointing result and performance although one that the boys can learn from.