Horsham YMCA boss hoping to banish Peter Bentley Cup demons in semi-final clash with AFC Uckfield Town

Horsham YMCA boss Peter Buckland. Picture by Liz Pearce.
Horsham YMCA boss Peter Buckland. Picture by Liz Pearce.

Horsham YMCA boss Peter Buckland is looking to put right last season's Peter Bentley Cup final defeat as they take on AFC Uckfield Town in the semis at Shoreham's Middle Road tonight.

YM fell 4-0 to 2017/18 SCFL Premier Division winners Haywards Heath Town in the final held at Hassocks last May.

Early injuries to Dean Carden and Dave Brown hampered the Gorings Mead-outfit, as goals from Karly Akehurst (two), Callum Saunders, and Max Miller secured a league and cup double for Heath.

Buckland is hoping to banish the demons of last summer's cup loss, but is wary that FA Vase-heroes AFC Uckfield Town will provide the sternest of tests in the final four.

He said: "We didn't turn up in the final last season. We had really bad luck with injuries, I think we had three forced changes before half-time, and it was a non-event.

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"It would be nice to get into another final but Uckfield are a fair old side. They put six past Broadbridge Heath on Saturday.

"(Uckfield boss Anthony) Storey has got them going well down there. The future looks bright for them on all fronts as a club and there's investment going into the place and everything.

"We will certainly need a performance on-par with Saturday to be able to progress."

YMCA have suffered a lengthy injury crisis of late, decimating the squad and curtailing their bid for promotion to the Bostik League.

Buckland is set to welcome a back of number of players but has conceded that getting squad members back to full match fitness may pose a problem.

He added: "Luke Donaldson is just about fully fit and chomping at the bit to get on the pitch.

"Tom Gilbert is back, he was on the bench Saturday, and he will feature at some point. It's just a case of getting them on the grass to get them back match fit.

"It's one thing being physically fit but match fitness is completely different and you can only get that with game time.

"We haven't got time on our hands to arrange friendlies behind closed doors when you're playing Wednesday and then we've got the big one on Saturday (against Eastbourne Town).

"We're just going to have to manage the squad."

Kick-off tonight at Shoreham's Middle Road is at 7:30pm.