YMCA down the Magpies to set the early-season pace at the top

Loxwood's goalscorer Gary Pritchard and Anthony Hibbert and Dean Wright for YM (blue) in action. Photo by Clive Turner
Loxwood's goalscorer Gary Pritchard and Anthony Hibbert and Dean Wright for YM (blue) in action. Photo by Clive Turner
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An early Sam Schaaf strike and a brace from Nick Sullivan saw Horsham YMCA secure their second win in four days with a salient 3-1 victory at local rivals Loxwood on Tuesday.

They avenged last season’s double league defeat to the Magpies with a convincing away win, which keeps them top of the Premier Division.

Loxwood goalkeeper Chris Coles makes safe from YM attack. Photo by Clive Turner.

Loxwood goalkeeper Chris Coles makes safe from YM attack. Photo by Clive Turner.

After an early series of corners, YM picked up where they left off from Saturday’s mauling of St Francis Rangers, as striker Schaaf profited from a fortunate ricochet in the Loxwood half before racing forwards and neatly netting his fourth goal in two starts after just six minutes.

The visitors pressed high up a pristine Plaistow Road pitch, as the first period sped along at a terrific pace.

Loxwood striker Cecil Gee failed to execute an audacious 40-yard lob midway through the half, as the home side struggled to carve out any clear-cut opportunities with YM dominating possession.

Schaaf used his strength well and then squared for former Magpie Dean Wright, who slashed wide of the far post, before Dave Brown’s sliding clearance freed Schaaf clean through on goal, but the forward could only side-foot straight at hosts’ goalkeeper Chris Coles.

Horsham YMCA's Sam Schaaf (blue) in action. Photo by Clive Turner

Horsham YMCA's Sam Schaaf (blue) in action. Photo by Clive Turner

Brown then missed an opportunity of his own as he skied a sumptuous Sullivan cross high and wide when sliding in at the far post.

YM did double their advantage three minutes before the break as Dean Carden’s cross was caressed into the far corner on the half volley by Sullivan from 15 yards.

In added time, the visitors spurned the chance to make it 3-0 when Sullivan and Wright saw close-range efforts saved, after which Loxwood broke away and Mark Cave’s cross was dispatched first time by Gary Pritchard.

The second 45 was a much more cautious event, as heated passages of play replaced the free-flowing affairs of the first half. Pritchard watched another header sail the wrong side of the upright, before Sullivan had two chances in as many minutes.

Sullivan was then booked for supposed simulation in the penalty area by referee Carl Smith, but soon added a third after an intelligent Wright dummy and fired into the far corner in added time.

“YM boss Peter Buckland concluded: “As ever, when it’s 2-1 a team is going to get opportunities, but I think I’m right in saying that in terms of clear-cut opportunities they had one, which was their goal.

“And I was very annoyed about that because there was 30 seconds to half-time and all we had to do was clear our lines.

“I played 4-2-3-1 tonight because I felt that when we’ve played them before they’ve swamped the midfield, and I think that it worked a treat. It was good to know that we can adapt our pattern of play.

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