The Hornet’s third pre-season fixture resulted in a comfortable 3-0 victory at Littlehampton Town on an uncharacteristically wet and breezy July evening.
While Horsham manager Dom Di Paola was absent for this match, coach Ian Browne will have been pleased with another workmanlike Hornets display as Horsham hone their fitness levels and sharpness ahead of another long season.
Encounters against Littlehampton Town have been memorable in recent times, indeed both sides were respectively the 2014/15 Sussex County League winners against the 2015/16 winners. In fact, the last time these two sides met, two players were sent off, so the term ‘friendly’ could well have been seen with some scepticism ahead of the match.
After a lively start from both sides, it took Horsham just seven minutes to open the scoring and it came thanks to a clever move that involved Asa Nicolson laying the ball out to Adam Hunt, who looked up to play the centered ball into the box where Scott Kirkwood swept home with a simple tap in.
Shortly after the half hour mark, some good work by Darren Boswell on the wing allowed the pacy winger to bomb forward, he heard the cry of Kirkwood and gave him the ball, but his shot was deflected before eventually coming back out to Alex Duncan who went for goal himself but saw his decent drive just clear the top of the crossbar.
The Hornets had a great opportunity before half time to double their lead, when Duncan supplied a great low cross from the left wing, after being found in a promising position by Kirkwood. Duncan’s whipped cross had all the hallmarks of an invitation to score, but the flight of the ball was beyond the reach of both Asa Nicolson and Adam Hunt, sliding in at the back post.
H/T Littlehampton Town 0 – Horsham 1
Minutes after the restart, Nicolson found himself agonisingly close to rounding off a fine Horsham move when his low shot hit the post. But while he had the misfortune in front of goal not to score, midfielder Darren Budd certainly enjoyed his slice of luck when he picked up the ball deep in Littlehampton’s half, and hit a speculative shot. It appeared the effort was covered by the Littlehampton Town goalkeeper, only for it to take a wicked deflection off a defender to wrong foot him while Budd’s shot cushioned into the centre of the net.
With the hosts slightly frustrated, the referee issued three yellow cards to the home side as he endevoured to keep the peace of the ‘friendly’ but Horsham were yet to turn the screw. A flurry of chances were kept out by The Marigolds, which eventually resulted in a Horsham corner.
The sight of a leaping Lewis Hyde timing his run and jump to perfection to power James Thurgar’s equally precise corner will have surely delighted Horsham supporters and give further reassurance that goals are bound to be scored from all over the pitch this forthcoming season.
Horsham continue their pre-season preparations on Tuesday evening when they make the trip to Newhaven.
Reporter: Matt Dale