Horsham Ladies hockey team reached the halfway point in their season with a battling home win over Oxford Hawks on Sunday.
Cruising at 2-0 up after only 20 minutes, Hawks struck back with a quickfire double to level things up.
Jess Dean though fired Horsham into a 3-2 lead at half time, and a composed rearguard display meant it stayed that way to complete a highly satisfactory first nine games.
Coach Paul Johnson said: “Hawks began only three points behind us so it was quite an important win to give us a six point cushion, and it also means we’re nine points away from the last relegation place.
“We’re now at the halfway point having played all nine other teams, although we have one more game before Christmas, and it puts us fifth in the table so we’re in a strong position.
“We’ve got 14 points already and considering we only got ten points the whole of last season it’s been a promising start.”
Horsham took the lead when Siobhan Ahearn broke through and slipped in Dent who confidently finished past the keeper.
It was two when Dent beat two defenders on the edge of the D and her strike at goal was helped over the line by Crossley.
But seemingly comfortable, Hawks scored from a penalty corner against the run of play, and two minutes later were level.
Five minutes from the half time whistle Horsham had a short corner of their own, and although Dean wasn’t the intended target she fired home from the left of the D to put Horsham 3-2 up.
Home goalkeeper Hannah Simpson was on hand to make some strong saves, although a determined defensive effort limited the visitors’ chances and Horsham hung onto their slender lead for a fourth league win of the season.
For their final game before the Christmas break they travel to Ipswich, the side Horsham beat 3-2 on the opening day of the campaign.