Horsham YMCA hold Three Bridges in six-goal thriller
Car park spaces at Horsham YMCA’s Family Lawyers’ Stadium were at a premium on Friday night, with late comers missing early goals when Three Bridges visited for a pre-season warm up
YM soon found themselves two down, but fought back strongly, earning praise from manager Dean Carden.
He said: “This was a really positive evening for us – we trusted and stuck to the plan we’d drawn up and fully deserved the hard fought draw against more senior opposition.”
In the first ten minutes Bridges called the shots, Ben Bacon putting them in front during the opening exchanges, before Brannon O’Neill promptly doubled the visitors’ lead from a shot in the area.
Some sides would have become despondent, but all credit to YM for clawing themselves into the game and then reducing the deficit on the quarter of an hour mark, Luke Donaldson neatly finishing off Toby Funnel’s pin point cross.
Then, within five minutes YM equalised, Charlie Maguire firing home with a low shot to the right following a thrusting breakthrough.
And, it got even better for YM when, just before the break, from a corner the Bridges’ keeper dropped the ball in the crowded box for YM to benefit from an own goal, taking them into the break leading 3-2.
An early YM corner shortly after the re-start was followed by a period of even play, until, with an hour gone, YM conceded the first and closest of three free kicks outside the area, Curtis Gayler blasting goal-wards to level the score, with keeper Luke Reeves unable to block the thunderbolt.
Gayler immediately got through again, only for Reeves to save with his feet, before, either side of three Bridges’ corners, YM’s busy keeper dived to kick the ball away and then, with YM defending tigerishly, saved again at full stretch for the sides to finish three apiece at the end of an entertaining encounter.
Carden added: “I’m hoping to announce some further signings soon, meanwhile our new boys played out of their skin tonight, which was exceptional considering that this was the first outing for this team as a unit.”
YM concluded their pre-season campaign with a lively 5-3 defeat at Dorking Wanderers Reserves. Maguire (two) and Donaldson grabbed YMCA's goals.
In their opening SCFL Premier Division fixture of the new season, this Saturday YM host Eastbourne Town at Gorings Mead and then make history with a trip to St Helier on Saturday week (August 7) to take on Jersey Bulls in the FA Cup extra preliminary round.