Buckland proud as punch as Horsham YMCA narrow gap on leaders with Town win

Eastbourne Town FC V Horsham YMCA (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-180128-152647008

Horsham YMCA manager Peter Buckland admitted he was proud as punch as they narrowed the gap on Premier Division leaders Haywards Heath to just two points.

That came as goals from Luke Donaldson and Dean Carden, both towards the end of the second half, gave YM a 2-0 success away to Eastbourne Town on Saturday.

Eastbourne Town FC V Horsham YMCA (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-180128-152547008

They battled the elements in dreadful conditions at The Saffrons and Buckland was delighted with his side for giving their promotion hopes a real boost.

They have lost just once in 15 games in the league and trail Heath, who suffered a shock 4-1 defeat to Three Bridges on Saturday, by two points having played the same amount of matches.

Below them, Chichester City, Town and Bridges all have four points less than YM with a game in hand.

In the build-up to Saturday’s match, Buckland admitted it was one of their biggest games of the season and after sealing success, he was left praising his squad’s depth and commitment.

Eastbourne Town FC V Horsham YMCA (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-180128-152746008

He said: “We knew it was a game that had to be won, although when you look at the table it would not have been definitive if we had not. It was particularly pleasing in the circumstances and to be honest, I was as proud as I have ever been with my team.

“We had a starting 11 in mind and from that we lost Mark Cave and Sam Schaaf on Friday night. Then we lost another three during the game due to injuries.

“I have been on at the lads all season that it is about a squad. No team at our level upwards will win a league or promotion with 11 players, you have got to have a squad. With injuries and things on Saturday, we had five of the starting XI on the pitch and they all did well. I was really proud that they dug out a result.

“We have stabilised the club with the playing staff. We have had the hard core of our squad for four seasons now and we knew it needed tweaking with a few personal.

Eastbourne Town FC V Horsham YMCA (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-180128-152559008

“Callum Donaghey at centre-back has been a great signing for us. He’s a great defender, good lad and breads enthusiasm all over the park - the back-four as a whole is really strong now.”

Chances were at a premium in the first half, YM’s best saw Donaldson put a snapshot over the bar after a corner had been headed down to him.

Dave Brown was then denied by a good save by Town’ keeper Greg Nessling.

The deadlock was broken on 75 minutes when Donaldson stabbed home from a corner and full-back Dean Carden made the points safe five minutes later firing into the bottom corner via a slight deflection from outside the area.

Buckland added: “All things considered - torrential rain, the wind howling around the pitch - never with you or against you, just howling around - and the pitch, as it progressed it got heavier and heavier and that isn’t a criticism of the pitch as when we got there it wasn’t bad at all - it was a good performance.”

Horsham YMCA: Jeal, Carden, Gilbert (Evans 65), Donaghey, Harding, Donaldson, Gedling, Dugdale, Brown (Lombardo 75), Mobsby (Cooke 35), Johnson.

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