Horsham YMCA reclaim top spot for Christmas with East Preston win after Chichester slip up
A Horsham YMCA donned in red and white delivered their own perfect Christmas present on Saturday as they put themselves back top of the Premier Division table.
Peter Buckland’s side slipped from the summit the previous weekend with a narrow defeat to Chichester City, who leapfrogged them into top spot.
But as YM bounced back with a 3-0 victory away at East Preston, Chichester were held to a surprising 3-3 draw at home to Hassocks, which saw them slip back down to second.
YM boss Buckland was delighted with his depleted side’s efforts as a Tony Nwachukwu brace, after Alex Barbary had given the visitors the lead, completed their victory.
He said: “I certainly did not expect Chichester to come unstuck against Hassocks, but as I said to the boys, we need to take care of our business and what happens elsewhere happens, we can’t influence that.
“Without bleating on about injuries again, we went down to East Preston with 13 fit players and one on the bench was from the under-23s.
“We then lost Ash Dugdale, as we expected we probably would, in the warm-up. Callum Donaghey’s knee flared up in the warm-up and Luke Donaldson turned up a 1.30pm complaining of a stomach bug.
“The boys did exceptionally well, all things considered. I was so proud of them as you are naming the team in the dressing room leaving people disappointed and then going back with somewhat your cap in hand when changing the team.
“East Preston are a good young side as well, but we were clinical in front of goal and that was the difference between the two sides.”
Barbary fired the visitors ahead on 12 minutes with a stunning goal. A short corner was worked back to the forward just outside the box and he took a touch and the fired into the very top-right corner.
Nwachukwu doubled the lead around the half-hour mark after a trademark Luke Gedling pinpoint corner was headed back across goal by Guy Harding and the forward tapped home.
The points were wrapped up in the second half with 15 minutes left to play as Nwachukwu beat a full-back and rounded the goalkeeper to score.
One downside to the win was Ollie Gill limping off at full-time with an ankle injury to add to YM’s ever-growing list of sidelined players.
As a result, Buckland admitted he was ‘very grateful’ YM are without a Boxing Day fixture, instead next hosting Broadbridge Heath on Saturday.
Horsham YMCA: Jeal, Carden (Hunt 70), Harding, Gill, Hartley (Frankland 70), Nwachukwu, Gedling, Mobsby, Barbary, Garrod, Bown. Unused: Dudgale, Godfrey.