Despite yet another player on the hospital list, Noah Chinn needing emergency surgery for acute appendicitis, Cirdec Atkinson’s short corner conversion against lowly placed Purley after just two minutes made it seem Horsham’s fine run of form was set to continue.
However a lacklustre performance saw them forfeit the game and slip to fourth in the table, undoing five weeks’ good work.
To be fair Purley did not play like a team in the relegation zone.
They showed great ball speed, were happy to attack and some shabby Horsham defending let them quickly equalise.
Then Horsham’s John Burroughs was fouled in front of goal and Jack Dean converted the penalty for his 12th goal of the season, taking him to equal top on the scorers’ leaderboard. Yet once again Purley levelled and honours were even 2-2 at half-time.
Coach Male’s teamtalk was robust – but didn’t stop Horsham going behind to a goal that should never have been allowed, a Purley forward controlling it with his body before shooting past Isaacs.
Deputising skipper Freddie Campbell was rightly aggrieved but restored order with a fantastic pass which Richard Blakesly deflected for the sort of goal Horsham have lacked this season.
At 3-3 Horsham looked in the box seat.
Then, for reasons shrouded in mystery, goalkeeper Isaacs charged out of his area to slide tackle a Purley forward.
A yellow card meant he left the pitch for the ensuing short corner, which was easily netted.
Freddie Campbell won Horsham a short corner at the death but Hough failed to convert.
Manager Al Campbell voiced the team’s frustrations: “Purley played well and we’re still lacking three starting players but we shouldn’t be losing games like this,’ he said.
“Still we’re close enough if good enough in the second half of the season when we’re back to full strength.”
Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.
Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.
1 Make this website your homepage
2 Like our Facebook page at facebook.com/pages/Sport-Sussex
3 Follow us on Twitter @SportSussex
4 Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.
And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!