Woolley’s hat-trick grabs a crucial fight back point in relegation scrap

Hockey South Premier Division 1: Horsham v Old Cranleighans. Ellis Woolley. Pic Steve Robards SR1704446 SUS-170603-123142001
Hockey South Premier Division 1: Horsham v Old Cranleighans. Ellis Woolley. Pic Steve Robards SR1704446 SUS-170603-123142001
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Horsham hit back from three-goals down thanks to an Ellis Woolley hat-trick to pick up a crucial point in their South Premier Division 1 relegation battle.

You don’t need a sense of déjà vu to envisage Horsham letting in early goals – it’s become something of a standing order. However you would have needed a crystal ball in Earlsfield to see them coming back to steal a point having been three goals down within 15 minutes.

On the surface the point came courtesy of a stunning Woolley hat-trick. More importantly it was a tremendous performance from a squad that now believe they are the equal of anybody in the league.

Spencer are a class act with plenty of ball pace, firing crosses at the far post. Dan Humphreys failed to control one such early ball which hit his foot. The resulting short corner gave keeper Andy Isaacs no chance.

A through-ball then caught the Horsham defence sleeping and a deflection cost a second goal. Moments later, post man Dom Cohen didn’t get enough of his stick on a second short corner and Horsham were staring down the barrel of a thrashing.

But Horsham steadied the ship. John Burroughs won a short corner which Woolley nailed to turn around 3-1 at half-time. The second half was all Horsham. Joey Humphries beat four people before winning a second short corner, converted by Woolley. Then new signing Nik Rieger linked cleverly with Woolley to conjure a great finish and complete the hat-trick seven minutes from time.

The team wanted to press for the winner but manager Al Campbell parked the bus.

“A draw meant a big point for us,” he said. “The boys worked hard to get into this league and they deserve to stay there.”

Results mean Horsham pull one-point ahead of Henley, with a game in hand and a far better goal difference. They travel to Henley for their final fixture in two weeks’ time. Meanwhile, this weekend, they play back-to-back home games against Milton Keynes on Saturday and Guildford on Sunday.

Campbell said: “It’s a massive 48 hours. Win both the games at Broadbridge Heath and Henley becomes academic.”