Horsham YMCA recorded their first three points of 2015 with a comfortable 4-0 win over ten-man Crawley Down Gatwick in Division 1 on Saturday.
The victory lifts YM back into the top half of the table, but manager Peter Buckland was left feeling a little frustrated that although his side dominated proceedings, they once more failed to convert an abundance of chances in front of goal.
Dave Brown opened the scoring on his return from three games out through suspension after just eight minutes, and it looked as if the floodgates would open.
But despite numerous opportunities to extend their lead and the sending off of hosts’ midfielder Sam Cane seven minutes after the break, Buckland’s side didn’t add to the score line until late in the second half, when three goals in the final quarter of an hour from brothers Dan and Nick Sullivan and substitute Taylor Smith secured the win.
Buckland said: “If I’m being honest, it’s nothing less than I’d expected. They (Crawley Down Gatwick) are in a transitional stage as a club and we needed to cash in on that.
“At times during the game if it had been a boxing match it would have been stopped, but we made hard work of things with our finishing again. It could have been 10-0 and it should have been a lot more comfortable than it was.
“But credit to the players because they kept going. It’s not been happening for us, and yet again I could feel the anxiety when it was still 1-0. I don’t think it made any difference the fact that they went down to ten men. I think that we were always in control of the game.”
A mistake in the Crawley Down defence gifted YM their opener on eight minutes when a dreadful pass across goal was latched onto by Brown, and he coolly slid the ball under an onrushing Andy Greaves in the home net.
Visitors’ defender Dean Carden then raced forwards and fed striker Nick Sullivan, who in turn squared for Josh Brown, and his close range strike was expertly blocked by Crawley ‘keeper Greaves.
The hosts’ only shot on target all game came five minutes before the break when former YM striker Jeff Mahadoo’s fierce 30-yard strike was well held by Mark Fox in the away goal.
YM should have made it 2-0 just before half time when Dave Brown was released down the left and he squared the ball across goal for Nick Sullivan, whose shot from six yards was somehow saved point blank again by Greaves.
Crawley Down midfielder Cane, was shown a second yellow for a late tackle on YM keeper Fox seven minutes after the restart, forcing his side to play out the remainder with ten men.
A deft Nick Sullivan header released Dave Brown down the left, who fired straight at Crawley stopper Greaves, before defender Alex Read headed a whipped Luke Gedling cross onto his own post just thirty seconds later.
Gatwick goalkeeper and candidate for man of the match, Greaves, then pulled off a string of superb saves to deny the visitors from extending their lead.
YM eventually added a second 16 minutes from time when a cross-come-shot from Gedling on the right edge of the area fell to Dan Sullivan and his strike from close range found its way into the net off of goalkeeper Greaves.
A low cross from Martin Smith was intelligently dummied by fellow replacement Taylor Smith in the area and Nick Sullivan fired into the corner after his first attempt was well saved by Greaves, before Taylor Smith turned goalscorer with an impressive strike to make it 4-0.
Horsham YMCA: Fox, Carden, O’Carroll, Dugdale (Gathern 81), Evans, Gedling, Hibbert, D.Sullivan, J.Brown (T.Smith 70), D.Brown (M.Smith 81), N.Sullivan. Unused Subs: Crane.