Phil Johnson hit a brace to help Horsham YMCA ease into the second round of the Sussex Senior Cup on Tuesday night.
Nick Sullivan and defender Alex Gathern were also on the scoresheet as YM avoided what manager Peter Buckland felt was a ‘potential banana skin’ against their division-lower visitors.
In truth it was a fairly routine evening for YM – even though they had a ‘disaster’ of formation experiment midway through the first half.
Buckland said: “They like to play a bit and their ball retention was very good. It was a potential banana skin, definitely.
“We just happened to turn it on and it was a nice evening, the weather was decent under the lights.
“I had three (Max, Howell, Charlie Cooke, Ben Godfrey) back from this dreadful injury crisis and the performance reflected that they were on the bench chomping at the bit to get on, it gave everyone a lift.
“We got a nice early goal and went 2-0 up on 15 minutes and I said if we did I would change to shape at the back and go 3-5-2.
“It’s something I have always wanted to do, but not had the courage. As we were two up, we tried it, but it was disaster. We did not adapt well and they had a bit of the ball then, but we defended well.
“We went back to the normal formation and the boys dominated the second half.”
Town went into the game on the back of three wins from their previous four games but were 2-0 down after just 15 minutes.
Johnson got the opener on five minutes as he poked home from a corner and Sullivan made it 2-0 soon after as he cut in from the right, went around a full-back and beat the keeper at his near-side post.
Johnson struck his second to put the hosts 3-0 ahead seven minutes into the second half from a Sullivan pass. He solid the defence and rounded goalkeeper Ben Rose, before finishing into an empty net.
Alex Gathern then got the fourth goal as he headed in a corner just before the hour mark.
Town had Rose to thank for keeping the score down as he twice denied Sam Schaaf, who had also struck the bar and the post.
YMCA host Pagham in the league on Saturday, while Town face Oakwood.
Horsham YMCA: Fox, Carden Gathern (Cooke 75), Crane, Harding (Shipton 55), Johnson (Howell 60), Curtis, Simpson, Brown, Sullivan, Schaaf. Subs: Godfrey, Faber.
Steyning: Rose, Hare, Elms, Webb, Wadey, Knowles, Dodd, Romain, Levoi, Hartley, Milner. Subs: Finch, Skipper, Clark, Gumm.
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