A lacklustre Horsham YMCA were dealt a Boxing Day blow as they were beaten 2-0 away at Dorking Wanderers, in one of only five County League fixtures to avoid the Christmas washout.
The loss is only YM’s third of the campaign, but perhaps represents their worst performance of those defeats, with Peter Buckland’s side slow and lethargic out of the blocks and lacking their usual creativity going forwards.
Two goals in the space of six minutes early in the first half ensured a dream start for Wanderers, and despite an improved performance after the break, the visitors failed to find a way back into the game.
YM boss Buckland said: “It was disappointing and I think it was a fair result in the end. We didn’t threaten their goal at all. The first half belonged to them and the second half belonged to us, but we never had that cutting edge.
“We started to play our normal game a bit in the second half, but collectively I felt that we had too many players not at the races today. “You can’t have four or five players that are not at it and expect to get anything from a game.”
The hosts started brightly and were threatening the YM goal inside the opening few moments. Lloyd Jermy headed over unmarked from six yards out, before the striker was then released clean through moments later, only to have his low strike well kept out by YM stopper Sam Smith.
Wanderers’ Chris Boulter had a goal disallowed for offside shortly after, before Jermy made up for his earlier missed opportunities when he tapped home at the far post after a fantastic cross from Tom Tolfrey just before the quarter hour mark.
YM’s defence was being split time and time again, and it wasn’t long before the ball was in the back of the net once more, as six minutes later Jermy this time turned provider for Tolfrey, who fired home from just inside the area.
YM’s best efforts on goal came later during the first period. Brad Curtis drove forwards and fed Martin Smith, who took the ball in his stride before seeing his low shot well kept out by Dorking ‘keeper Dean Cupit, before Dan Sullivan’s hesitant side foot, just before the break, was blocked by a defender when he should have perhaps done better.
Buckland introduced Liam Hunter and Josh Brown at half time and the midfield pairing seemed to provide YM with a lift, as they began to retain the ball much better.
But neither side could add to the scoring during a quiet second 45 minutes, which was reflective of the early morning Boxing Day fixture that it was.
Buckland concluded: “If I was asked to summarise the game in a sentence, the biggest difference of all was that they wanted it more than we did, particularly when it counted, which was in the first half an hour.
YM (4-2-3-1): S. Smith, Wood (Grantham 69), Crane (Hunter 45), Burgess, Evans, O’Carroll (J. Brown 45), Dugdale (c), D. Brown, B. Curtis, D. Sullivan, M. Smith. Unused: Hutchings, Gannon