Horsham made history at home to Lewes on Saturday when they progressed to the final of the Sussex Senior Cup for the first time ever.
While perhaps not a cup shock of epic proportions, the fact that Lewes play their hockey a division higher means that skipper Duncan Howarth’s men can be optimistic for their final against Eastbourne after the 2-0 win.
It was a typically tense cup tie, neither side giving quarter in a gripping first half and neither team finding the back of the net by the turn around.
Horsham, however, were comfortably ahead on the short corner count, John Burroughs in particular causing problems to the visitors defence.
Horsham were almost back to full strength after three hospitalisations in December.
However, coach Dom Male, still recuperating from a broken hand, reset the line-up playing four across the centre.
As the game progressed, with the composure and experience of Freddie Campbell and Richard Blakesly playing as twin centre halves, Horsham started to dominate.
Campbell broke the deadlock, his crash ball from outside the D finding Rob Turnbull’s stick for a fine deflection past the visitors’ keeper.
Lewes fought back but, fully committed to attack, were again undone when Campbell won the ball and found Noah Chinn far downfield. Chinn’s ensuing shot was deflected but fell to Howarth who tapped in at waist-height on the far post.
After the game Horsham manager Al Campbell praised the performance in what was a rare win for them over the division-higher side.
He said: “Over the past few seasons we have regularly played Lewes and regularly lost by the odd goal.
“This time it was our day, the entire squad putting in a great shift as a precursor to our New Year league challenge.”
In the preceding game, Horsham’s 2nd team beat a strong Brighton team 4-2 in their semi-final of the Sussex Second Team Cup and they will join the first team on Sussex finals day at the end of the season.
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