A Sam Schaaf strike saw Horsham YMCA put a shock end to Premier Division leaders Shoreham’s perfect start to the season on Wednesday night.
The striker got the only goal 15 minutes from time to ensure the Gorings Mead outfit sealed a 1-0 home victory over the title favourites.
Going into the contest, Shoreham had won all eight of their previous league matches but that 100 per cent beginning was ended by a superb YM showing.
YM manager Peter Buckland was delighted with his players’ efforts and saluted them for showing more strength in depth than even he realised.
He said: “It was a great performance again. It’s really pleasing actually the strength in depth has surpassed even my expectations.
“People have had to step up to the plate as I had four players missing that, unless it was forced upon me, would be starting.
“People have replaced them and done a great job and I am over the moon. Shoreham are in great shape, played eight, won eight, scored a barrel load and not conceded many.
“I think it was fair to say it was not much of a close contest and we deserved to win and I think their manager would agree with me. Right at the end was the only time my heart was in my mouth.”
The only goal of the game came in the second half as YM substitute Nick Sullivan made an immediate impact a minute after coming on, pulling back for Schaaf to fire home.
Despite pushing for an equaliser in the closing stages, which included a match-winning save from Lewis Blaney from a Shoreham free-kick, YM held on for all three points.
Buckland added: “I think the turning point was the three games including Eastbourne United away in the cup. It was Pagham away in the FA Vase and then this Shoreham game.
“If we come out of our next two against Chichester and Pagham again with six points, I really will be a happy bunny.
“I am not going to get carried away though, I have been in the game too long to know around the corner someone is waiting to pull the rug away. But, you have got to embrace the good times when they are there.”
Mussels boss Rob O’Toole said: “For some reason we just did not turn up. I’m not sure why that was but we looked a little lethargic and did not play well.
“I don’t think the defeat is a bad thing because myself and the players are even more hungry now.”
Horsham YMCA: Blaney, Carden, Gilbert, Gathern, Harding, Evans, Curtis, Simpson (Beckles 75), Brown, Johnson (Sullivan 70), Schaaf.
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