Horsham YMCA’s first game for almost exactly a month ended in a disappointing 3-2 defeat at promotion rivals Littlehampton Town.
Nick Sullivan’s goal on the stroke of half-time saw YM ahead, but three goals in just six second half minutes handed Town the victory despite a late second from Sullivan.
YM boss Peter Buckland said: “We weren’t really at the races but I thought we were on for a smash and grab victory. At 1-0 up I was planning to bring on two defensive players to shut the game out, but before they had the chance to finish their warm up we were 3-1 down after a crazy six minutes.
On a tricky, heavy pitch a largely poor first half ended on a high for YM. Liam Hunter’s defence splitting pass released Sullivan and he rounded the keeper to score from a tight angle.
YM’s top scorer missed a great opening for a 2-0 lead from Dan Evan’s cross straight after the restart.
And YM were punished, starting with a ‘bizarre’ own goal from the unfortunate Adam O’Carrol on 70 minutes. Bradley Lewis then stunned the visitors with a blistering long-range strike, and Dan Simmonds mate it 3-1 on 76 minutes.
Dan Sullivan pulled one back but YM had little time to find a third.
YM at least have the chance to gain instant revenge, they host Littlehampton on Tuesday night in the John O’Hara Cup.