Horsham YMCA boss Peter Buckland ‘couldn’t have asked for more’ from his side despite falling to a late 2-1 home defeat against division-higher Tooting & Mitcham on Saturday in the FA Cup.
YMCA actually broke the deadlock on 56 minutes through sub Dean Bown in the first qualifying round clash at Gorings Mead but Tooting levelled eight minutes later through Lex Beeden before Eli Simpson struck in the 95th minute to end YM’s cup run.
Despite falling to a loss, Buckland felt his team held their own against higher level opposition.
He said: “It was a nip and tuck game and I think we matched them second half which Tooting’s manager acknowledged. We took the lead and it was a lovely take by Dean Bown, who has got a lovely habit of coming on and immediately scoring.
“They got their equaliser and then both teams were battering away at each other to get the winner and unfortunately the mistake at the end proved costly.
“It was an uncharacteristic error by Dan Mobsby. He lost possession of the ball as we pushed hard for the winner. It’s hard but we win together and we lose together. I couldn’t have asked for more.”
The game held a special note for both sides as former YM chairman Mick Browning, who died in 2015, had previously had successful spells at Tooting.
The visitors had the better of the first half and had a plethora of chances, but it remained scoreless at half-time.
The hosts began the second period in the ascendancy and got their goal eight minutes after the restart as Bown finished superbly on the break.
The lead didn’t last long as on 64 minutes Beeden leapt highest from a Peter Wedgeworth corner to equalise for Tooting.
With 15 minutes to go, Tooting’s Tope Fadahunsi received his marching orders for a second booking and with YM looking to capitalise on their man advantage they began to ramp up the pressure on the opposition goal.
As the home side pushed for a late winner, Mobsby was dispossessed by Abraham Odoh, who played in Simpson who rounded Aaron Jeal to slot home and end YM’s cup hopes.
Buckland added: “There’s always a silver lining; say we had hung on to draw we would’ve had the replay but we would’ve had another league game cancelled during midweek and on the day we would’ve been due to play our next cup game we would’ve missed another league game.
“We’ve gone three games into the FA Cup and we’ve enjoyed it but I’m glad we’ve not fallen behind in the league as that is our main objective.”
YMCA return to league matters this week as they travel to Lingfield on Wednesday evening (7:30pm k.o.) before making the trip to Crawley Down Gatwick on Saturday.
YM: Jeal, Carden (Donaghey 90’), Evans, Gilbert, Gill, Barbary, Donaldson, Dugdale, Schaaf (Bown 53’), Mobsby, Moore (Garrod 74’). Unused: Cave, Hunter, Gedling, Frankland.