Ten-man Horsham earned a battling three points in an ill-tempered Premier Division clash with Littlehampton this afternoon.
In torrid conditions in what was only one of four games to survive to bad weather, goals from Terry Dodd and a late one from Kieron Pamment earned the Hornets a 2-0 victory.
Having netting in the first half, Dodd then received a somewhat harsh red card ten minutes into the second half as tempers boiled over.
The clash saw a large number of yellow cards and Littlehampton’s Peter Beadle was also sent off with nine minutes remaining for a tackle on Alex Duncan.
Despite a pressing start from the hosts, it was Golds that had the first real chance as Ryan Bell skipped away onto a long Jon Hendrick kick and took it past a diving Gareth Williams on the left, but he was forced wide and his angled effort was chested off the line by Charlie Farmer.
After a fairly lively opening few minutes, the game failed to take off for much of the first half. The visitors’ three centre-backs of Danny Hand, Ross McKay and Josh Bates defended stoutly to snuff out any Hornets attack as the final ball lacked.
Littlehampton had appeals for handball and a penalty waved away by referee Nick Blogg on 20 minutes as Duncan slid in to block Scott Packer’s low cross on the far side.
The hosts took the lead three minutes later as Graham Martin put in a cracking tackle in the Golds half and it fell to Darren Boswell, who slipped in Dodd and he twisted and turned on the edge of the box holding off two defenders, before firing past Hendrick into the bottom corner.
That sparked the game into life and Boswell fired over and Hendrick fumbled a long-range free-kick, before pulling off a stunning one-handed save to deny Dodd’s half volley.
At the other end, Golds player-manager George Gaskin fired straight at Williams from outside the box, which was an easy take for the returning stopper.
At the start of the second half, with the rain coming down on and already sticky surface, Golds had the first chance as Mitch Hand broke away down the left and delivered into the box, but his low ball was just in front of a sprawling Packer.
On 56 minutes, the home side were controversially reduced to ten men as Dodd tackled Gaskin from behind on the halfway line.
It was a bad tackle that deserved a yellow card, but the away team surrounded the man in the middle baying for blood and after talking both his assistants sent off the goalscorer.
The extra man didn’t seem to have much effect on the match as Horsham continued to dominant possession. Golds did switch to a 4-4-2 and substitute Rob Hutchings had an early impact as his cross found an unmarked Beadle, who scooped well high and wide.
With nine minutes to go Golds were also reduced to ten men as Beadle saw red for a tackle on Duncan.
It was right in front of the Horsham bench and the management team and players reacted furiously to again add weight onto the referee’s decision.
In deteriorating conditions, Horsham made the points safe deep in added time, substitute Brad Lewis broke away down the left and his cross was missed by a defender and finished by Pamment.
Horsham: Williams, Knee, Jones, Farmer, Duncan, Boswell (Archibald 83), Shelley, Martin (Lewis 89), Hunt, Pamment, Dodd. Unused subs: Rowe-Hurst, Atkinson, Burfiend.
Littlehampton: Hendrick, Wiggins (Hutchings 67), Bates, D.Hand (Robertshaw 60), McKay, M.Hand, Bell, Janman, Gaskin. Beadle, Packer, Unused subs: Kilner, Ball, Askew.