Horsham YMCA responded to consecutive Premier Division defeats in style on Saturday, as they smashed struggling Hailsham Town 7-1 at Gorings Mead.
Dan Sullivan opened the scoring for the home side midway through the first half, only for Stringers forward Jack Divall to level 90 seconds later.
The brief scare for the hosts didn’t last long though, as striker Sam Schaaf tapped home to restore YM’s lead three minutes after, before Luke Donaldson netted his first of the afternoon in added time at the end of the opening period.
The young midfielder doubled his tally to make it 4-1 shortly after the restart and then completed his hat-trick 15 minutes later.
Substitute Martin Smith grabbed YM’s sixth a minute from time, before Phil Johnson headed home an even later seventh to complete the scoring.
Manager Peter Buckland commented: “I didn’t doubt the result, even when they made it 1-1. Prior to that it was a bit open, I must admit. There were two or three chances at each end, but we had opportunities in the first five minutes to be a couple of goals up.
“It was very difficult to control the ball. Pitches have gone from one extreme to the other, from playing on a bit of mud to it drying out and the ball bobbling all over the place.
“We’ve got to sharpen up in our own box and in the opposition box as well. Everything else in between isn’t too bad. If you take into account that there was no Nick Sullivan, Ash (Dugdale) and Dave Brown, then it’s a very pleasing performance.”
After an end-to-end start, YM broke the deadlock as Sullivan’s side-footed volley found the far corner from the edge of the box.
Divall was given far too much time and space 20 yards from the hosts’ goal and he found time to cut back onto his right foot and curl the ball in off the far post.
A Stringers’ corner was then cleared to YM midfielder Dean Wright, who raced clear before releasing an inch-perfect pass for Johnson, who squared for Schaaf after his initial shot was saved.
The home side then dealt their opponents a killer blow in added time at the end of the first 45 when Donaldson expertly lobbed Sheldon Levett from 25 yards.
YM dominated large parts of the second period and quickly put the result beyond all doubt. Johnson wriggled his way into the box before teeing up Schaaf, whose shot was blocked to an alert Donaldson, who poked home.
Donaldson completed his hat-trick with a quarter of the game to go as he latched onto a lofted Dan Evans pass, knocked the ball past Levett and tapped into an empty net.
Smith exchanged passes with Schaaf before slicing into the far corner to make it 6-1 and Johnson headed home a clipped Wright cross to round off the rout.
Horsham YMCA: Fox, Carden, Burgess (Horner 82), Crane, Evans, D.Sullivan, Hibbert, Wright, Donaldson (Smith 74), Schaaf, Johnson. Unused: Gedling, Gathern.
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