Horsham 4, Faversham Town 3: Branford brace secures points in a thriller

Horsham Fc First Team Manager  Dominic Di Paola. Pic Steve Robards SR1626364 SUS-160913-134127001
Horsham Fc First Team Manager  Dominic Di Paola. Pic Steve Robards SR1626364 SUS-160913-134127001
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A George Branford brace - including a 90th-minute winner - saw Horsham clinch a deserved home victory over Faversham Town.

It was a dramatic afternoon at Gorings Mead as Horsham looked as though they had thrown away a 3-1 lead with ten minutes remaining in the Ryman League South Division clash.

There would have been plenty of questions for the officials had the Hornets not taken all three points after they were denied a stonewall first-half penalty and trailed 1-0 at the break.

Goals from Branford, Tony Nwachukwu and Tom Lawley hauled the hosts back into the game, before they gifted away two late goals.

Town goalkeeper Ben Bridle-Card then handled outside the box to deny Liam MacDevitt a goalscoring opportunity, which was completely missed by referee John Pike and his assistants.

The Horsham bench and supporters were furious, but the players kept pushing and netted the winner on the stroke of full-time through Branford.

Right-back Alex Duncan returned to the starting line-up following his broken nose, while Nwachukwu and Ollie Gill replaced the injured Terry Dodd and MacDevitt.

New signing, former Welling youth player, Joe Smith was named on the bench.

The first shot at goal came from the visitors as Sam Bewick ran onto a loose ball in the Horsham defence, but skewed high and wide from 22 yards.

Faversham should have had the lead on nine minutes as Jordan Casey spurned two glorious chances in quick succession.

He first raced onto a Charlie Farmer back header and rounded Josh Pelling, but Duncan was on hand to cover on the line from his effort that looked like it was rolling wide.

Straight away the ball was the re-delivered back to the striker, but he inexplicably tapped wide unmarked at the far post.

Horsham’s first real effort came on 15 minutes from a Gill corner as Metcalf met it on the run at the near post, but his header was cleared off the line.

Town took the lead on 22 minutes as their long-throw routine paid off with helping hand from Pelling.

The keeper raced out to try and clear Jack Steventon’s trademark throw, but got nowhere near it and Mobolaji Dawodu’s flicked header nestled in the net.

The Hornets had the ball in the net five minutes later as Lee Carney tapped home a square ball from Nwachukwu, but the winger was offside from Gill’s pass.

Nwachukwu then forced a save from Town stopper Bridle-Card as he latched onto Harris’ through ball, and from the resulting corner, pushed Gill’s set-piece onto the bar.

Horsham, who were now in full flow, should have had a penalty before the break as a neat interchange between Carney and Nwachukwu put the later away and a defender wiped him out in the box, coming completely through the man.

Bizarrely, nothing was given, but the Hornets continued to press as a Scott Harris cross was again tipped onto the woodwork.

Despite their pressure they failed to find an equaliser before the break as Town had the final chance to pinch a second as Bewick went through and hit wide with Pelling at full stretch.

At the start of the second half, Horsham came out the quicker and a Brandford shot took a deflection off Dawodu and Bridle-Card sprawled across the line to pushes the ball wide.

Horsham got the goal they had been threatening on 58 minutes as a short corner saw Carney’s ball go all the way across the box. Farmer recycled it and cut back to Branford, who took a touch just inside the box and fired through a sea of bodies into the far bottom corner.

With MacDevitt on off the bench, Nwachukwu pushed out wide and Carney put a continuous supply of passes out to him on the wing as they opened up the Town defence.

It was from one such move that the Hornets went ahead on 67 minutes as Lawley twisted and turned in the box and his shot from a tight angle took a big deflection and ended up in the net.

Just two minutes later it was 3-1 as Nwachukwu ghosted in one on one with Bridle-Cardle and duly dispatched.

The visitors set-up a nervy finish on 80 minutes as a great mazy run across the box by Bewick saw him then tee-up Dawodu, who smashed his second of the afternoon past Pellling.

And it got worse for the Hornets five minutes later as poor defending saw Dean Grant latch onto a ball over the top and fire across goal into the bottom-left corner to level.

The match officials then completely missed Town stopper Bridle-Card handle outside his area with MacDevitt one on one to deny a goalscoring opportunity.

But justice was done as a one-two between Carney and Lawley saw the ball whipped in and Branford finished on the run on 90 minutes to secure their third home success of the season.

Horsham: Pelling, Duncan, Jones, Farmer, Mectalf, Harris, Carney, Branford, Lawley, Gill (MacDevitt 51), Nwachukwu (Whitehead 73). Unused: Eze, Smith, Sackman.

Faversham Town: Bridle-Card, Cooper, Carrington, Steventon, Tenyue, Campell, Bewick, Dawodu, Stanford, Grant, Casey (Harvey 63). Unused subs: Cheek, Wells.

Attendance: 231.

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