Horsham YMCA and Loxwood shared the spoils in a far from classic Premier Division derby at Gorings Mead this afternoon.
In a game that lacked few real clear-cut chances the 0-0 scoreline reflected a game that had a bit of an end-of-season feel to it.
With likely mid-to-higher table finishes for the two sides, it was a game that had plenty of huff and puff and solid defending, but no real quality in the goalmouths.
The first real chance came on 12 minutes as Sam Schaaf poked the ball around the corner to Dan Evans on the left and his cross-come-shot came down onto the far post, but back out and was cleared.
A misplaced pass from Max Bickell from a Loxwood attack then saw the host break and Phil Johnson drove forward before cutting back to Dave Brown, but Dave Carruthers collected his effort from outside the box.
The chances kept coming for the home side and a crucial tackle by Ross Swaine on Johnson in the box stopped his initial shot, but the referee decided he fell on the ball with his arm as he attempted a second effort at goal..
The visitors’ first shot came on 24 minutes as YM gifted the ball away and Ollie Gill drove forwards from the halfway line and into the area, but he didn’t connect enough with his low shot and it trickled wide.
Schaaf’s shot was then crucially blocked by Lewis Scally and the striker’s follow-up was straight at Carruthers.
A fumbled cross by Mark Fox from a Magpies short corner fell at the feet of Matt Daniel, but the keeper recovered to block away the ball, while at the other end, Schaaf skipped through the defence, but overran the ball into Carruthers.
The second half was more of a battle of attrition and lacked any real quality and few chances in the opening exchanges, the first coming on 55 minutes as Carruthers palmed down Schaaf’s shot.
A Loxwood effort at the other end saw a fumble from Fox, but no-one was following in to seize on the loose ball.
The visitors had slightly more possession in the second half, but failed to carve any real stand-out chances despite introducing Ed Davis and Charlie Pitcher off the bench. The best was a goalbound shot from Adam Williams that was blocked away with eight minutes left to play.
At the other end, the hosts also had a chance to win it as Johnson cut the ball back to Schaaf in the six-yard box, but he fired straight over.
Then Mark Cave denied team-mate Ash Dugdale a late winner as he nodded his header over the bar as it looked to be nestling in the top corner.
Horsham YMCA: Fox, Carden, Cooke, Harding, Shipton, Johnson, Cave, Dugdale, Brown, Evans (Gibson 74), Schaaf. Unused subs: Buchanan, Familton, Gedling, Jeal.
Loxwood: Carruthers, Bachelor (Frankland 67), French, Colbran, Scally, Williams, Swaine, Bachelor, Gill, Bickell (Pitcher 74), Daniel (Davies 57). Unused subs: Jacques, Camp.