‘Totally-focused’ Horsham keep up the promotion pace

Hockey, South Premier Division 2: Horsham v Holcombe A. Pic Steve Robards  SR1607588 SUS-160703-154735001
Hockey, South Premier Division 2: Horsham v Holcombe A. Pic Steve Robards SR1607588 SUS-160703-154735001

A ‘totally focussed’ Horsham continued to keep up their press for promotion with an impressive win over mid-table Holcombe.

Facing a team which, like Horsham, was unbeaten in 2016, Duncan Howarth’s squad put in a clinical performance to further stress their promotion credentials against Holcombe at Broadbridge Heath on Saturday.

Hockey, South Premier Division 2: Horsham v Holcombe A. Pic Steve Robards  SR1607603 SUS-160703-154811001

Hockey, South Premier Division 2: Horsham v Holcombe A. Pic Steve Robards SR1607603 SUS-160703-154811001

The result leaves them third on goal difference and level on 39 points with Tulse Hill & Dulwich, who occupy the second and last promotion place.

Built around an England under-21 midfielder and having let in only two goals in their last six games, Holcombe brought one of the tightest defences in the division.

However they were easily unpicked by Horsham’s aggression and speed on the break. The first quarter of the game was cagey as both sides probed for weaknesses in their opponents.

In defence Dominic Cohen, Ollie Yeomans and Dan Humphreys were rock solid and, with manager Al Campbell able to rotate Joe Humphreys, Noah Chinn, Rob Turnbull, Richard Blakesley and Freddie Campbell through midfield, Horsham were soon dominating possession.

Hockey, South Premier Division 2: Horsham v Holcombe A. Pic Steve Robards  SR1607611 SUS-160703-154837001

Hockey, South Premier Division 2: Horsham v Holcombe A. Pic Steve Robards SR1607611 SUS-160703-154837001

A typical Joe Humphreys run broke the deadlock as he weaved between defenders before the ball broke to John Burroughs to net.

A similar fast break saw Chas Richardson convert in similar style then, just before half-time Chin finished the job when Horsham’s pressure again proved too much for the visitors.

The second half was more even although Richardson’s spectacular second was a virtuoso effort when he broke down play on the 25-metre line, sprinted clear and finished with an unstoppable reverse stick shot.

Goalkeeper Andy Isaacs made some important saves in the Horsham goal, before Holcombe did score a consolation.

Team manager Campbell said: “From the moment we sat down for the team talk the boys were totally focused.

“They then set about totally dismantling and shutting out a very effective Holcombe side – it was both awesome and scary.

“The team cannot afford to slip up – we need to win all the way to the line to ensure promotion.”

Horsham have four games remaining, next week bringing another tough fixture at Winchester, one position lower in the league.