Horsham YMCA's roller-coaster season continues
After a challenging start to the season, Horsham YMCA successfully re-grouped with an unbeaten five match run, including three wins – until their fortunes abruptly changed with an away defeat against Abbey Rangers in the FA Vase first qualifying round
A second half penalty opened the scoring for the hosts, and three more goals followed a YM red card. Then came a home league reverse at the hands of high-flying Saltdean United.
Saltdean visited Gorings Mead emerging from Covid induced postponements – which manager Bryan O’Toole told the County Times had been understandably frustrating after only being able to play six games.
But, that wasn’t manifested on the pitch, the visitors’ lively all-star side creating early chances, initially repelled by YM.
But, such was the pressure that YM were relentlessly being put under, that a goal seemed inevitable, and one duly arrived in the 22nd minute when, after Aaron Jeal had saved with his legs, in yet another Saltdean attack he could only parry the ball out to Tom Caplin, who crashed home.
A Ryan Warwick blast was tipped over by Jeal for a second corner before a flying header from Dylan Merchant doubled Saltdean’s lead, the score remaining 0-2 at the break.
Creditably, YM restarted positively, coming close from a free kick, which, had it been converted, might have altered the course of the game. But, much-travelled 27-year-old Scot Trevor McCreadie, twisted the knife by firing the ball into the bottom left corner.
YM, though, appeared to be in business when, returning from injury, Luke Donaldson burst through, but couldn’t get past Saltdean keeper James Broadbent, who subsequently also thwarted Tom Cousins.
Jeal’s high save quelled another advance before sub Jack Ryder booted the ball off the YM goal line. However, Saltdean were not quite done, after a corner Jeal’s prone save was gathered by the ever-thrusting McCreadie, who skirted the keeper to slot in the visitor’s fourth just before the end.
YM manager Dean Carden said: “They are a strong side of experienced, settled players, but no excuses, that was a real test.
"Our heads went down a bit after missing a goal early in the second half.”
With Saltdean showing early signs of being strong title contenders, O’Toole added: “We deserved what we got, especially as we haven’t been able to meet for two weeks.
"We’ve only been beaten once – in the last minute at Pagham.”
Dropping to 13th, YM’s woes were compounded on Saturday by a 9-0 league reverse at Crawley Down Gatwick, and they are looking to bounce back tonight when 15th-placed Steyning Town come to Gorings Mead.