Eddie Dsane continued his impressive start to the season by scoring a penalty as he helped his side Whyteleafe continue their 100% start to the league campaign, as Horsham fell to back-to-back defeats in a game that left plenty of things to discuss at Church Lane.
As the teams trudged off the pitch at the final whistle, Horsham will feel that luck was not with them on the day as a deflected goal and penalty decisions went against them, but in reality, luck was not the reason The Hornets lost this game, as once again Dom Di Paola’s side shot themselves in the foot as Leafe took full advantage of mistakes made during the first half as the visitors fought in vain to salvage something from this encounter.
Di Paola might well point to referee Alexander Mathieson’s failure to award his side a penalty in the seventieth minute when Will Hoare appeared to be unfairly barged off the ball when primed to shoot with the score at 3-1, and his frustrations would have no doubt been compounded by Whyteleafe being awarded two penalties earlier in the match with one in particular coming when Charlie Harris clipped Dan Hector, despite the midfielder insisting that the incident occurred three yards outside the box.
It could have started differently when Horsham managed to get the ball in the net with eight minutes on the clock, but when Darren Boswell applied the finish, the linesman’s flag had already been raised.
A minute later, Joey Taylor’s low cross bounced quickly across the pitch as the flight of the ball threatened to catch Leafe goalkeeper Tyler McCarthy out, who pushed the ball to safety to prevent it embarrassing him at his far post.
From Leafe’s first chance though, they scored. Horsham’s failure to challenge a corner allowed the ball to come back out to full-back Bradley Wilson, and he thrashed a shot towards goal that took a wicked deflection to leave Josh Pelling rooted to the ground.
Unable to adequately muster a response bar an audacious effort from Harris from twenty-five yards that was bravely charged down, Horsham hit the self-destruct button as they made things harder for themselves. A long ball out should have been easy enough for Charlie Farmer to control and direct out from defence, yet he made a hash as he attempted to chest the ball down, and in stole Dsane who broke into the penalty area, only for Lewis Hyde to bring him down with a careless last ditch challenge. It left the referee with no alternative but to point to the spot, while Hyde himself was fortunate to escape with just a yellow card. Dsane then made it a formality as he fired in a well taken spot kick after dusting himself down.
Horsham then pulled a goal back ten minutes later as Hyde went some way to redeem himself when he lost his marker inside the box to firmly head home following a brilliantly weighted freekick from out wide into the box, but despite the goal appearing to wake up the guests, Leafe continued to look the more threatening of the two sides.
Leafe felt that they should have had a second penalty right before half time when Hyde challenged Marvin Armstrong, but despite the striker theatrically falling towards the ground, the referee and his assistant agreed that the former Petersfield man won the ball fairly as they promptly waved play on.
Having survived the scare, Di Paola would have been annoyed to see his team concede a third before even having the chance to practice his team-talk. With a point to prove, Armstrong took a shot that narrowly went across the face of goal, and with Horsham’s defence stretched and slow to react, Harrison Carnegie was allowed time and space to keep the ball in play, before turning and curling in a fine finish from a tight angle to nestle into the side netting.
H/T: Whyteleafe 3 Horsham 1
Horsham’s team talk during the interval would have surely focused on the desire to cut out the mistakes that were handing the home side the initiative. If that was the case, then the message still had failed to get through to the Hornets players when six minutes into the second half, Harris’ lunge on Hector saw the award of the game’s second penalty. While the foul itself was definite, the question on if it took place inside the box was a bone of contention for Horsham supporters and the player himself, who were adamant that it took place three yards outside the box, but it made little difference, as surprisingly, Dsane ballooned the spot kick embarrassingly over.
Soon after, Armstrong had a good chance to put the game beyond Horsham when Pelling came off his line and nearly stranded himself, but with the defence getting back in time to cover, the Horsham shot-stopper regained his composure to recover the situation and tip the shot wide.
Having already awarded two penalties, expectation meant a spotlight was shone on Mr. Mathieson when substitute Will Hoare found himself in a prime position pull the trigger when he collected inside the box, but before he could do he was bundled over non-sportingly. It appeared a clear foul, yet the match official immediately waved away the appeals as Horsham fans were left to bemoan the consistency against the earlier decisions that had gone against them.
To Horsham’s credit, and despite it being in vain, they continued to fight until the last whistle, but things were summed up late on when Tyrell Richardson-Brown chased down a hopeful ball threaded into the box, but despite the forward’s pace, he was unable to reach it in time as McCarthy rush out to block bravely on his line as the two players clattered into each other with Richardson-Brown requiring treatment.
A midweek fixture at Bracknell will now offer Horsham the chance to get back to winning ways in the Velocity Cup, while the FA Cup becomes the focus next weekend when we visit Corinthian.
Match Reporter: Matt Dale