Tony Nwachukwu was on target to help Horsham secure a deserved point at home to in-form Walton Casuals this afternoon.
The visitors arrived at Gorings Mead having made a storming start to the season, winning all-but one of their league matches and put seven past Molesey with no reply on Wednesday night.
Casuals led 1-0 at the break after some sloppy defending gifted Jack Sammoutis the opener, but a battling Horham hauled themselves back into the game after the break and got a deserved equaliser through Nwachukwu.
For the home side, Nwachukwu came in to replace the suspended Terry Dodd up front, while Lewis Hyde returned at full-back with Matt Whitehead pushing up to replace Tom Lawley on the wing with Darren Boswell out injured.
The first chance went Casuals’ way on ten minutes as a ball found its way across the box to Daniel Summers, but Josh Pelling was quick off his line to block the shot away.
After that it was nip and tuck as the hosts comfortably dealt with the visitors’ pressure, looking calm and collected at the back. For the home side, the final ball wouldn’t quite fall at the other end.
On 24 minutes, Horsham appeals for a penalty were waved away as Tony Nwachukwu went down in the box after knocking the ball past a defender.
Summers then skipped clear at the other end on the byline and forced a save from Pelling at the near post, before the keeper denied the same player at the other post with his knee.
The visitors had the lead on 40 minutes from a mazy run by Malachi Hudson after Lewis Hyde gave the ball away.
The attacking midfielder beat George Branford and Lee Carney and slide in Sammoutis, who fired high into the net from 16 yards.
The half ended is feisty fashion as Odunaike Gabriel tangled with Alex Duncan after not letting the defender get up and swung and arm/elbow round at the defender. The linesman on the far side spotted the incident and decided it was worthy of just a caution.
At the start of the second half a Caney header from a Liam MacDevitt was cross taken high and held by Brannon Daly.
Nwachukwu then won a free-kick on the edge of the box as he was tugged back by a centre-back, but Scott Kirkwood’s free-kick flew high and wide.
At the other end, Pelling pulled off a great save as he pushed away Gabriel’s effort that looked destined for the top corner after a quick break.
There was plenty of Horsham pressure that just failed to find a way through, but Casuals continued to look dangerous on the counter and Pelling made another smart save denying Summers.
Horsham did level on 68 minutes as a great through ball put Nwachukwu away and he drove into the box and slotted past Brannon Daly.
At the other end, a Summers free-kick crashed against the underside of the bar and out.
Kirkwood had the ball in the net on 80 minutes as MacDevitt closes down Brannon Daly and back heels to Kirkwood, but the referee blows for a foul on the stopper.
Casuals substitute Scott Day’s header sailed narrow over the Horsham bar. While MacDevitt went to close in on goal and headed the ball past goalkeeper Brannon Daly, who had raced out of his goal and crashed into the forward and was booked, but the free-kick was wasted.
In an open finish, the hosts held out more than four minutes of added time including a later Casuals corner.
Horsham: Pelling, Duncan, Jones, Sackman, Hyde, Nwachukwu (Harris 78), Kirkwood (Farmer 89), Branford, Carney, Whitehead, MacDevitt. Unused subs: Gill, Andrade, Cousins.
Casuals: B.Daly, Stevenson, D.Daly, Nicholson, Fitzgerald, Cheadle, Gabriel, Sammoutis, Summers, Pinnock (Holness 30), Hudson (Day 65). Unused subs: Collins, Marshall, Knock.
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