GOALKEEPER Michael Hunter saved two penalties in a shoot-out as Horsham squeaked through into Round 2 of the Brighton Charity Cup at County League Southwick.
The visitors looked to be cruising when Calum McGeehan volleyed them into an early lead but Southwick hit back when Sam Blundell netted from close range in the first half.
The Hornets suffered a blow with an injury to goalkeeper Ken Westoby, who was taken to hospital as a precaution, meaning regular keeper Hunter came off the bench to replace him.
It stayed 1-1 until the end of the 90 minutes, and neither side managed to find the net again in extra-time as it went to penalties.
Adam Hutchings, Tommy Murphy and Liam Flanigan all scored from the spot while Hunter saved two penalties and Southwick’s Josh Hewitt hit the bar as Horsham progressed.
Youngsters Dean O’Keefe and Adam Hutchings played the full 90 minutes while Jack Surlis came on at half-time, and despite the result not being as comfortable as he would have liked Langton was happy with the chance to see his young stars in action.
He said: “When you play against teams like Southwick, who are a great club with a great manager, no disrespect but it’s their night of the season and they are going to fight tooth and nail for everything, as they did.
“If it was a boxing match it would have been over in the second half, they were on their knees but credit to them because they never gave up and that, coupled with some poor finishing from us meant it went all the way to penalties.
“It was quite a mixed side, I had three youngsters in the team who were all brilliant. Dean O’Keefe, who is only 16, was superb, he held the ball up and linked up well and was unlucky not to score. Jack Surlis did well at right back when he came on and it was a battling performance from Hutch (Hutchings), and when we were deciding penalties he stepped up and said I’m taking the first one, which I was really impressed with.”
Langton also reserved praise for Hunter, who again impressed with a couple of reaction saves as well as his heroics in the shoot-out.
Westoby will return to hospital this Friday to find out if his leg injury is bone or muscle. His leg has been put in a brace and he has been given crutches.