JUSTIN Luchford was full of praise for hat-trick hero Tony Nwachukwu but said the forward’s match-winning performance in Horsham’s thrilling 4-3 win at Kingstonian came as no surprise to him.
The 20 year old capped a scintillating display with three fine goals – his first an early candidate for goal of the season and his last a dramatic 93rd minute winner to earn Luchford his first win as Horsham manager.
“To be honest it really doesn’t surprise me,” Luchford said. “The lad’s got talent and the lad can do things and he’s learning all the time.
“Again for all the good things he’s done tonight there were a lot of bad things and I have to look at that as a manager rather than as a fan. As a fan of course he’s got man of the match and the ball which is fantastic for him and I’m delighted for him.”
“He came up to me at the beginning of the season and said I want a chance, and I’ve given him a chance, I’ve backed him and he’s backed me, and I can’t ask for more. I couldn’t be happier with him at the moment.”
Nwachukwu’s first-half opener was a moment to savour for the pocket of vocal travelling fans as he cut inside two players from the left and rifled an unstoppable shot into the top corner from outside the area.
Dane Luchford then played him in for the second, for which he showed good strength to hold off a defender and slot under K’s keeper Rob Tolfrey. Tom Hutchinson headed the hosts back into it but Dan Morris struck his second in two games on the stroke of half-time to make it 3-1.
Only some sublime saves from Matt Armstrong-Ford and some woeful finishing kept K’s out in the second-half before two goals in three minutes from Hutchinson and substitute Simon Huckle dragged them back to 3-3 with ten minutes remaining.
Kingstonian pushed for the winner but Horsham had been a threat on the break all game, and when the ball broke kindly for Nwachukwu three minutes into injury time he coolly put the ball into the net to get the Hornets’ season up and running in style.
A delighted Luchford however refused to get too carried away with the result, adding: “We can’t win 4-3 every week”.