Horsham YMCA manager Peter Buckland revealed he was delighted with his side’s performance on Saturday despite suffering a 3-1 home defeat against AFC Uckfield in the RUR Cup.
His side fell behind midway through the first half in scrappy fashion when a shot ricocheted off Guy Harding’s back and into the net, but a quick response from Luke Gedling drew the home side level going into the break.
A goal early in the second half put the visitors back in front, before a missed penalty from Dean Carden saw a great opportunity get away from YM.
A third Uckfield goal sealed YM’s exit from the cup, but manager Buckland thought the performance from his team was ‘very good’ despite ultimately not being enough to win the game.
He said: “It was actually a very good performance, particularly first half. I said to them at half time that we were the better side in the first half without a shadow of a doubt.
“Starting to play good, connected football again was a pleasure to watch. I felt more comfortable than I have at any point this season.”
Buckland admitted that he sees the cup as a ‘free hit’ in comparison to the league, and wasn’t disappointed with his side’s exit from the competition after injuries hindered his preparation.
He continued: “It was a free hit, which was exactly what we needed at this stage of our development, the RUR Cup. I don’t mean to disrespect the cup or our opposition, but I was glad it wasn’t a league game.
“In my starting 11 were Jack Frankland, Ash Wadhams and Tom Gilbert, three of my back four, and by half past two on Saturday I’d lost all of them through injuries. Major reshuffling was needed.”
Buckland’s and YM’s primary focus is their SCFL Premier Division campaign, with Buckland admitting it is ‘more important’ than any cup competitions.
He said: “More important, if that’s the right word, is away to Saltdean on Tuesday in the league. That’s what concerns me the most.”
YM currently sit 17th with just one league win so far and host Margate in the FA Cup first qualifying round on Saturday.
Horsham YMCA: Jeal, Carden, Evans, Gibbs, Harding, Gedling (Clarke 75), Nwachukwu, Lovegrove (Dugdale 75), Ryder, Daniel (Lindsey 68), Pearse. Unused: Gilbert, Frankland.