Maidstone Utd 3 Horsham 0

JPCT 200413 Football: Horsham v Leatherhead. Photo by Derek Martin
JPCT 200413 Football: Horsham v Leatherhead. Photo by Derek Martin

Horsham rounded off their league campaign with a 3-0 defeat away to league title contenders Maidstone Utd.

It was a party atmosphere with a packed crowd of 2,305 packing into Gallagher Stadium to watch the home side fighting to win the league title and with it automatic promotion.

Hornets fans added to the end of season celebration by going in their numbers and humorously dressing up as monks and wearing wigs.

Maidstone needed to take three points and rely on rivals Dulwich Hamlet losing against Burgess Hill as a point would be sufficient for them to become champions.

In the end Dulwich drew 1-1 leaving Maidstone needing to contest the play-offs inorder to gain promotion, starting with a semi-final at home to Folkestone Invicta on Tuesday.

Maidstone carved out the early chances as Stuart King struck the post, shot and headed wide while Alex Flisher was denied by keeper Michael Hunter who got down low to make a save before Billy Joe King cleared.

King then gave Maidstone the lead calmly put away by Stuart King from the penalty spot after King was controversially adjudged to have been brought down by Gary Charman, who was then booked but who later denied he had made contact.

News circulated around the ground that Dulwich had gone a goal down against Burgess Hill and hopes of lifting the winners’ silverware added to the home crowd’s excitement.

Horsham had not looked out of contention during the quiet first half and carved out two good chances immediately before half-time when Ryan Marriott curled in a shot on target which was dealt with by keeper Charlie Mitten and then with a free header, Matt Simpson nodded a corner by Tony Nwachukwu off-target.

Hunter showed his good form by tipping over a shot by Ade Olorunda soon after the start of the second half.

Just four minutes after the break Charman had to leave the field with a hamstring strain which led to James Brockhurst coming off the bench.

Horsham went 2-0 down in the 63rd minute when Olorunda powrfully headed home Flisher’s long throw.

Dulwich had equalised in the other important game in the division, while Maidstone dominated most of the second half.

A succession of attacks by the home side finally resulted in a goal by Steve Watt being ruled out for offside.

Substitute Paul Booth rubbed salt into the wound with a third goal when he rounded both Hunter and defender Billy Joe King before tapping into the net.

Finally Horsham made a rare attack in the final minute which ended in a scuffed shot by Trevor McCreadie tamely rolling to the keeper.

Hornets: Hunter, Farmer, BJ King, Simpson, Charman (Brockhurst 49), Akehurst, Nwachukwu, Harris, Freeman (Koboah 80), Dunn (McCreadie 55), Marriott. Unused subs: Waterman, J King

Attendance: 2,305