Horsham’s search for a first win in 2013 goes on after a woeful defeat away at lowly Walton Casuals last night (Tuesday).
The 3-1 defeat made it eight games without a victory since winning 3-1 at Tooting on December 29, and saw Casuals claim their first win of the season at home.
Missing Gary Charman and Billy Joe King after both were injured on Saturday, Horsham’s weakened defence struggled from the word go, though it was a rare mistake from goalkeeper Michael Hunter which allowed the hosts to take the lead after 25 minutes.
He rushed out of goal for a ball he never look like getting to, and when Mu Maan beat him there he centred the ball for substitute Kwabena Agyei to score with his first touch, having replaced Sol Patterson-Bohner who was on a yellow card and looked hell-bent on getting sent off.
A mistake from Hunter’s opposite number Gareth Williams handed the visitors parity only three minutes later, the Casuals keeper spilling the ball under little pressure and Ryan Marriott did well to hit an awkward ball into an unguarded net.
Instantly reinvigorated by the goal, a nice move down the right would almost certainly have put Hornets striker Aaron Scott in on goal had his touch not let him down at the vital moment.
The impressive James McShane hit an acrobatic volley from a free kick straight at Hunter and The Stags did get their noses back in front just before half time when, after more static Horsham defending Maan half volley emphatically past Hunter.
Clearly unhappy with what he’d seen in the first 45 minutes, Horsham boss Simon Colbran made a double switch at the break, Scott replaced by Jamie Ampleford upfront while Charlie Farmer was replaced by Jamie Brockhurst in defence.
Brockhurst hardly covered himself in glory as Casuals extended their lead just 50 seconds after the restart. The young right back lost a header which gave Agyei space and time on the left to pick out Maan to tap home his second of the game at the back post.
Horsham passes consistently missed their mark and the complete failure to keep the ball in advanced positions heaped further pressure on an already shaky defence.
Casuals were flagged narrowly offside twice as they cut through at will, and when McShane did find himself onside only a good save from Hunter kept out a fourth.
Hunter went some way to making amends for his earlier error with a number of good saves late on, a point blank stop to keep out Matt York’s header from a corner and again thwarting McShane when in the clear.
Horsham did show some positives late on - Eddie Koboah with a header against the crossbar from Ryan Marriott’s deep free kick, Marriott with a shot just wide and Glen Woodburn with a great headed chance from a corner - but overall it was another abject performance which rightly saw Walton Casuals make it 15th time lucky at Waterside Stadium.
Horsham drop down to 18th in the table and afterwards Horsham manager Colbran could hardly hide his dejection when he said: “I just think too often this season we’ve gone away from home on a Tuesday night and put in a first half performance like that.
“I could probably name six or so times that’s happened and you remind them of it before the game and then it happens again. It’s the same things you’re going over and over again to get them not to do and to do, but nothing seems to happen.
“It’s like hitting your head against a brick wall sometimes and I’ve just told them they need to seriously look at themselves. I’ve put my hands up in the past when I’ve been wrong with tactics and formations and there’s no excuses. They need to go away and look at themselves, they really do.”
Horsham (4-4-2): Hunter; Simpson, Farmer (Brockhurst 45), Gilbert, Woodburn; Nwachukwu, Marriott, Hutchings, Harris (Clarke 65); Scott (Ampleford 45), Nwachukwu.