A serious injury to Horsham YMCA goalkeeper Sam Smith marred the local derby with Broadbridge Heath on Tuesday night.
Smith went down under a challenge deep in added time which led to Heath’s Ollie Moore poking home the winning goal in the last action of the game.
It gave the Bears a 2-1 lead in the Premier Division clash with the clock on 94 minutes, but despite there being still more than two minutes left to play the injury to Smith was serious enough to call for an ambulance.
He went down under a challenge from Heath’s Scott Weller as he jumped for the ball and with YM’s protest of a foul ongoing it became apparent the keeper was screaming in pain.
With an ambulance called and the stopper being attended to on the pitch with a suspected broken arm, YM boss Peter Buckland encouraged referee Luke Chapman to blow the whistle early - which he did.
YM took the lead midway through the second half through Phil Johnson, before Jake Holmes fired Heath level five just minutes later.
Despite a heavy frost the previous night, a combination of YM covering the area in front of the main stand and rising temperatures during the day meant the clash beat the weather, at a biting Gorings Mead.
There was little quality on show in the opening exchanges to excite those that braved the weather and neither goalkeeper had been forced to dirty their gloves at the midway stage of the half.
A promising move thanks to some Sam Schaaf trickery saw a ball across to Matt Simpson in the Heath box, but the danger was closed out, while Alex Parsons lofted over the bar at the other end after some back-line indecision from YM.
Shaun Findlay went closest on 15 minutes as a searching crossfield ball dropped to him wide of the left post and his effort trickled past Smith and across the face of goal.
YM’s best chance of the half came on 25 minutes as Guy Harding stole a march on the defence from Dave Brown’s corner, but turned over the bar from six yards.
Moments later, Michael Chester was forced into his first save as Max Howell skipped past his man and fired across goal only for the Heath stopper to superbly turn the ball away and round the far post.
At the other end, from a drive forward, Parsons played into Holmes on the edge of the box, who neatly laid off for Moore, but Smith was equal to his low effort.
YM finished the half with a flutter as Johnson’s effort on the turn was blocked wide and from his follow-up corner, Brad Curtis glanced narrowly over the bar.
Heath had the first effort of the second half as Parsons’ shot from the edge of the box saw Smith lift the effort around the post.
The visitors spurned a glorious chance to take the lead on 58 minutes as Jamal Sultan poked the ball past Harding in the box, his cross-shot found the arriving Holmes, who landed on the ball two yards out rather than tapping it home. The ball broke again as YM scrambled back, but when it was tucked home by Moore the whistle had long gone for a foul on Smith.
YM made Heath pay for that miss five minutes later as Howell surged forwards and clipped a ball across the box and it eventually fell for Johnson to lash into the roof of the net.
But just three minutes on, Heath were level as Findlay managed to find Holmes who dispatched past Smith to level the scores.
With 15 minutes to play, Johnson teed-up Parsons on the edge of the box, but he curled the golden opportunity high and wide.
In a frantic final ten minute each side could have nicked it as Heath were penalised for a dubious back pass, but Charlie Cooke’s free kick crashed into the wall after a lay-off, while Heath made a triple attacking substitution with Dean Wright, Weller and Tim Martin all coming off the bench.
For YM, a tame Scott Buchanan header was straight at Michael Chester in injury-time, before Heath struck four minutes into added time as the ball was bundled home by Moore after Smith went down under a challenge.
The goal stood, but Smith was clearly in pain and an ambulance was called with the referee blowing his whistle shortly after - the result is expected to stand, but will need to be ratified by the Southern Combination League board.
Horsham YMCA: Smith, Carden, Gathern, Harding, Evans, Brown, Howell, Curtis (Buchanan 81), Simpson (Cooke 67), Howell (Hole 83), Johnson, Schaaf. Unused subs: Shipton, Gibson.
Broadbridge Heath: M.Chester, Holvey, Maxwell, S.Chester, Robinson, Sultan (Martin 37), Moore, Sandell, Parsons, Findlay (Weller 38), Holmes (Wright 83). Unused subs: Howard, Swain.
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