Horsham YMCA moved a step closer to clinching the Premier Division title with a hard-fought 2-0 win at Hassocks, and boss Peter Buckland was full of praise for his ‘workmanlike’ side.
YM, who now sit six points above second-placed Three Bridges, travelled to Hassocks with a remarkable 10 wins from their previous 11 games, looking to extend their run after a three week lay-off due to recent fixture postponements.
Despite inevitable rustiness, YM secured the win against the relegation battling hosts through goals either side of half-time by debutant Tony Garrod and Ashley Dugdale.
Buckland believes that winning the game despite not being at their ‘creative best’ against a ‘stern’ Hassocks outfit in difficult conditions, proved his side’s quality.
He said: “It was bitterly cold with the wind and it was a workmanlike performance from us. It was the kind of performance that I was expecting after three weeks of not playing, but the result was never in doubt.
“We weren’t at our creative best, but to their eternal credit what they did do was win it straight back after giving the ball away and that’s the measure of a good side really.
“And another good measure of a good side is when you’re picking up points when you’re not playing that well.
“Hassocks are a good little side, they were a really quite stern and young opposition.
“We got the three points and a competitive game under our belt which was imperative.”
Buckland was also impressed by the performances of debutants Garrod and Ollie Moore.
He added: “Tony (Garrod) is looking a good strong lad, being able to hold the ball up and bringing others into play and a goal on your debut can’t be bad. He’ll be very important.
“In terms of his position and style of play, we’ve been totally dependent on Schaaf and we’ve needed alternatives there, as he’s got a glass ankle.
“Ollie (Moore) also impressed me but that was no surprise as he’s been on the local circuit for years. I’ve been impressed by him every time I’ve seen him play.
“He’s a natural footballer and he hasn’t had to cope with being a total stranger because he knows all the lads so he slipped straight in.”
However, Buckland stressed that more work is required to remain at the summit of the table and that they will not be getting carried away too soon.
“It is going to chop and change all over the place”, he said. “We’re taking nothing for granted, we are not big headed. We are just getting on with our business and success should follow.”
Horsham YMCA: A.Jeal, Carden, Evans, Gilbert, Harding, Gedling (Cooke 85), Donaldson (Moore 59), Dugdale, Garrod (Cave 79), Johnson, Brown. Unused: Donaghey, C.Jeal