Horsham let lead slip but have started well

DM16146275a.jpg Horsham Hockey Club. Joseph Humphries. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-160210-121802008
DM16146275a.jpg Horsham Hockey Club. Joseph Humphries. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-160210-121802008

Horsham team manager Al Campbell says they are happy with their early-season progress after promotion to South Premier Division 1.

Their solid run of form continued at the northernmost extremity of the table in deepest Oxfordshire.

Although having twice been in front, they should have made the long journey worth three points rather than one as they were held to a 3-3 draw by Banbury.

Horsham have dropped just five points so far this season and Campbell is pleased with the start.

He said: “It’s early days yet, but with seven points from 12, we sit third in the table and certain form lines seem to be working out.

“The club set coach Dom Male and skipper Andy Isaacs a 30-point target in this first season in this higher league and, with 18 games still to play, they will be happy with the progress.

“It’s always better to have points in the bag than have to chase them.”

Banbury and Horsham have a history of close games over the past few years but the scoreline in this encounter doesn’t reflect Horsham’s dominance, who let themselves down through defensive errors and losing their shape.

Banbury were run ragged early on and resulting fouls saw them down to nine men early in the first half.

However, so keen were Horsham to press that they left space at the back and a fast break by the home forwards created a two-on-one and a shot which goalkeeper Isaacs failed to save.

Ellis Woolley, who looks to have replaced Jack Dean as Horsham’s goal machine, restored the balance from a short corner.

It was 1-1 at the turn and Horsham must have felt positive about the outcome and when Joey Humphries finished a good passing move to make it 2-1 things looked good.

Once again fouls saw Banbury have a man sin-binned and once again Banbury scored.

Campbell joked with his Banbury counterpart that they played better with ten and never was a truer word spoken in jest.

Woolley scored his second from the penalty spot to again give Horsham the lead five minutes from time, which should have settled the match, but yet once again Banbury, still with only ten on the pitch, equalised.

Campbell added: “We were much better than a draw, but the way we defended we probably didn’t deserve to win. Still, as Arsene Wenger said on Saturday, if you don’t win at least don’t lose.”

Horsham host mid-table Oxford Hawks on Saturday, who have won two and lost two of their opening four matches.

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