Ten-man Horsham YMCA recorded their first league win since early December with a hard fought 2-1 victory over Hailsham Town on Tuesday, writes Tom Norris.
Martin Smith’s header 15 minutes from time was enough to hand Peter Buckland’s side a much needed win, and the YM boss didn’t hesitate in expressing his feelings after the game.
“I’ve been through a roller coaster of emotions this evening, but I’m as high as a kite at the moment,” Buckland said. “Tonight was one of the tensest games we’ve had all season, but I’m over the moon that we’ve got the three points.”
It looked as if it would be another long night for the hosts when full-back Dan Evans was sent off just five minutes in for a trip on Hailsham striker Trevor McCreadie when clean through.
But a resilient YM responded well, and despite their one man disadvantage, and then losing goalkeeper Paul Williams to injury, they looked much the better side.
Striker Elliott Romain, returning from suspension, rattled the visitors’ post, before a Smith pull back eluded everyone in the YM box.
YM did then finally take the lead after 21 minutes as Hailsham midfielder Jamie Salvidge headed into his own net from a whipped Dan Sullivan corner.
And the hosts could have then put the game to bed before half time, as Smith first dragged wide when clean through, before Brad Curtis saw his penalty saved after the Stringers’ Steve Early had handled on the line, which also resulted in the defender being shown red.
The home side’s wasted opportunities then came back to haunt them, as right on the stroke of half time Salvidge atoned for his earlier error, poking the ball home at the far post to draw things level.
The second period was a much quieter affair, but it was YM who again spurned the better chances, as Smith blazed high and wide when well placed, before Sullivan fired a tame effort at the visitors’ ‘keeper.
But 15 minutes from time the hosts eventually got their just reward, as front man Smith made amends for his earlier lack of composure by flicking a header over the ‘keeper and inside the far post for the winner.
Buckland added: “It was a good performance all round against a much improved Hailsham team, and I will certainly be looking to carry that into Saturday’s game at home to Sidley.
“I told the lads that I wanted nine points from the next three games, and that’s three of them there tonight.”
YM (4-4-2): Williams (Flack 15), Gardner, Girdler, Burgess, Evans, Sullivan, Dugdale, Curtis, Cox (Wood 70), Smith, Romain