The Hornets made it two wins on the spin, as Dom Di Paola’s side overcame Sussex Combination League side Newhaven in a nine-goal thriller at Culver Road in the Sussex Senior Cup.
Leading 2-1 at the break, The Hornets took control during the second half as they imposed themselves on the visitors to race into a 4-1 lead with twenty minutes remaining, but four more goals in a hectic final eight minutes ramped the entertainment factor up a few extra notches as both sides threw away the guide to defending.
After beating Molesey 3-1 on the weekend, manager Di Paola made three changes to his starting line up, with George Landais ineligible, and Hakeem Adelukun and Matt Nezval unavailable, the nod went to Toby House to lead the attack, with Dean Bown rewarded for his lively display as a substitute and Scott Harris returning to action.
It was youngster House, who had the first sniff at a goalscoring chance just five minutes into the game, when he seized on an error from the Newhaven defence, but after working his way into the box and squaring for Bown, Tristian Jarvis made sure to outmuscle the forward by hooking clear.
Arguably, the best chance of the opening few minutes fell to the visitors, when on thirteen minutes, Horsham’s defence panicked as Ebou Jallow headed against the post, and with goalkeeper Joe Taylor stricken, the hosts somehow scrambled Ian Robinson’s follow up clear.
Newhaven’s defence however then gifted Horsham the lead on twenty-two minutes. A poorly placed pass at the back was intercepted by House, who combined with Bown, but with the Dockers struggling to clear their lines, the ball was moved across to Darren Boswell, who smashed it beyond Jake Buss.
The Hornets could have gone 2-0 up minutes later as, another lax ball from Newhaven was seized upon high up the pitch, with Jack Hartley and House linking up well together, but this time, the pass to Bown was just behind him.
House then made a burly run through the centre of the pitch, resulting in a shot from distance that was deflected out for a corner, but Newhaven drew level with lethal precision a minute before the half-hour mark. Lee Robinson’s craft in the centre of the pitch saw him turn and beat his man in the centre of the pitch, and he directed a perfectly weighted ball to split Horsham’s defence wide open, finding his brother Ian, who clipped the ball across the face of Joe Taylor and into the net as he wheeled away in delight.
The visitors could have taken the lead themselves with their next attack, as Horsham’s defence stood up firm to block a quick succession of shots, before The Hornets decided to respond three minutes later. Bown picked up on a misplaced pass out from The Dockers defence, cut inside to trick his marker, and attempted to curl home, but Buss was up to the challenge, clearing with his boot.
Horsham would go inside at the break with their lead restored however. Referee Michael Ryan pulled the game back to award Horsham a free-kick on the edge of the box, and after several minutes of gamesmanship from the Newhaven defence – upset about the decision – Metcalf’s clever lay-off to Boswell fooled the wall as the midfielder smashed his shot through the gap, and in beyond Buss.
H/T: Horsham 2 Newhaven 1
Having scored at the end of the first half, Horsham picked up from where the left off, scoring immediately after the restart as Jack Hartley’s pace proved too much for The Dockers, and after rushing his way into the box, he finished clinically into the bottom far corner.
Newhaven looked to work their way back into the game, and they came close five minutes later when they hit the post, yet Horsham gave themselves a three-goal cushion on the hour mark, and essentially killed off the guests when a fantastic threaded ball fed House, and as the striker homed in on goal, he held off the attentions of Jarvis to finish coolly.
Job done, The Hornets should have seen out the game comfortably, yet the final ten minutes saw the game open up suddenly as both sides forgot how to defend. The Dockers were unlucky not to reduce the arrears with when Scott Harris’ goal-line headed clearance denied Henry Daly, however in the eighty-second minute, Newhaven did pull one back as, once again Horsham’s defence was carved open curtesy of a through ball straight down the middle, and it was of little surprise that prolific Dockers hitman, Lee Robinson would score as he faced down Taylor during the one-on-one and finished calmly.
A minute later, Horsham restored their three-goal cushion, as they created a carbon-copy goal, this time, Michael Waller was sent through at the other end, and from the angle, he dinked the ball across Buss, into the net.
With the game wide open, Waller was unfortunate not to grab a second goal when his shot was well saved by Buss, the ball ricocheting off the Newhaven ‘keeper and off the bar, however Waller was not to be denied a second, when he prodded home after Buss saved another shot, only this time, for the ball to come back off the bar straight towards the Horsham man.
And if that wasn’t enough during a ridiculous final ten minutes, there was still time left for Ryan Knight to find the net from a Newhaven corner to give a sense of respectability for the guests.
Reporter: Matt Dale
Match sponsor: Paul Osborn
Match photos courtesy of Steve Brown here