Horsham YMCA manager Peter Buckland remained philosophical after his side’s ten match unbeaten run was halted by County League Division 1 leaders East Preston.
Second half goals from Alex Duncan and Craig Grantham wrapped up the points as EP extended their advantage at the top, and while YM boss Buckland was left to rue two soft goals he admitted the run had to end at some point.
Buckland said: “The unbeaten run ends, but I think it’s fair to say we had a really good go at them [East Preston] today. The run had to come to an end at some point - it doesn’t matter who you are, you can’t keep on winning.
“They never had a shot on goal in the first half. We contained them really well and matched them all over the park. We should have gone in two-nil up at the break.”
The visitors started slowly at the Lashmar, but with presentable chances going begging for Dean Cox and Elliott Romain, were made to rue not taking their opportunities.
Two soft goals inside the first 20 minutes of the restart were ultimately YM’s undoing.
A contentious refereeing decision led to the opener for Duncan, while goalkeeper Simon Lockwood gifted former Storrington and Loxwood striker Grantham the second of the game.
“I hate berating officials, but an atrocious decision put us one-nil down.” Buckland bemoaned. “Ash [Dugdale] was in control tidying up at the back, their centre forward absolutely pole axed him, and the referee just waved play on, leaving the guy to roll the ball into the goal. It was a shocking decision.
“I thought we’d pick ourselves up from that, but not long after, the ball was passed back to Simon [Lockwood] in goal, and thinking he’s Lionel Messi, he came out with the ball, and the forward closed him down and nicked it off his foot to roll it into an empty net.”
But having gone behind, YM then found their feet and could easily have come away with a point following a determined last 20 minutes.
Mike Gardner shot over when well placed inside the box and Dan Sullivan had a low shot superbly kept out by Preston ‘keeper Anthony Ender.
Buckland added: “The last half an hour was as good as we’ve played all season. I said to the lads that we can come away with our heads held high. Our spirits are still up, and we’ll carry that forward into the next game.”