Horsham 2, Corinthian Casuals 1: Hornets hanging on in survival battle

Horsham winger Tony Nwachukwu has been offered a new contract  Pic Steve Robards SUS-150328-230507001
Horsham winger Tony Nwachukwu has been offered a new contract Pic Steve Robards SUS-150328-230507001

Horsham’s survival hopes hang by a thread after a 2-1 home win over Corinthian Casuals this afternoon.

Hastings United’s 1-0 victory over Ramsgate means that the Hornets are eight points from safety with three games left to play in the South Division of the Ryman League.

Saturday’s 3-0 defeat at Walton & Hersham could prove costly now as they must rely on other results as well as securing nine points themselves.

A Tony Nwachukwu and Trevor McCreadie goal gave the home side the points although ten-man Casuals pulled a goal back through Carl Wilson-Dennis in added time.

A lovely crossfield ball from Richie Welch set Gregg Berry away on eight minutes and he slipped in behind Jake Gill, but the full-back, who was called into the starting line-up after Danny Green was injured in the warm-up, recovered well to turn behind for a corner.

Casuals’ first chance fell to Lee Hall after an airshot by Wilson-Dennis on the edge of the box and he drove just over the bar on 24 minutes.

The best chance of the half fell to the visitors’ Dave Hodges as the ball rolled across the area to him on the left and he fired high and wide past Gareth Williams, who he should have tested.

Horsham suffered an injury blow before the break as captain Lewis Hamilton limped off on 38 minutes and was replaced by Daniel Rogers.

The visitors ended the half in the ascendency as Williams was almost caught out by Mahrez Bettache’s free-kick as he turned over the bar and Hall’s effort from outside the box whistled past the post.

George Branford was introduced early in the second half and he immediately had an impact with a smart ball down the wing for Nwachukwu.

The winger drove into the box and his low cross was handled by Andy Mills leaving referee John Pike in no doubt of pointing to the penalty spot and Nwachukwu smashed home via the underside of the bar to put Horsham ahead.

A late flag denied McCreadie a shot on goal after going through one-on-one with Danny Bracken, while at the other end Hodges fired just wide.

Jamie Byatt slotted in substitute Max Austin on 73 minutes, but he failed to get the ball out of his feat and again tamely put wide of the left-hand post.

Byatt was shown a straight red card six minutes later as the striker clashed with Horsham joint-manager Anthony Storey.

Storey went down holding his face as the Casuals man tried to grab the ball off him and Pike went to his back pocket after consulting his linesman.

McCreadie had a golden chance to put it to bed on 85 minutes as Ehis Izokun stripped his full-back and picked out the striker in the box, but he miss-hit his effort.

A minute later however, the Horsham forward found the back of the net as he fired across goal into the top corner for a 2-0 lead.

It was to be a nervy finish for the home side as Wilson-Dennis tapped home at the far post in the fourth of seven added minutes.

There was just enough time as the other for McCreadie to attempt an audacious lob from 40 yards that crashed back off the crossbar.

Austin could have pinched a point for the visitors as he smashed wide with virtually the last kick of the game, but Horsham held out.

Horsham: Williams, Hamilton (Rogers 38), Storey, Gilbert, Obersteller, Izokun, Welch, Bold (Hope 89), Berry (Branford 53), Nwachukwu, McCreadie. Unused subs: Maynard.

Corinthian Casuals: Bracken, Gill, Mills, Hicks, Welch-Turner, Spencer, Hall, Bettache (Austin 65), Hoges, Byatt, Wilson-Dennis, Unused subs: Dudley, Defoe.

Attendance: 208.