Horsham YMCA boss Peter Buckland was left feeling ‘disappointed, frustrated and conspired against by the footballing gods’ after a 96th-minute Saltdean winner saw them slip to third in the Premier Division.
After gaining just one point from their previous two home games against Chichester and Peacehaven, YM went into the game against Saltdean looking to bounce back and restore their push for promotion.
However, a team depleted by injuries were unable to find a way past the stubborn visitors, who made the hosts pay with a last-minute winner by substitute Luca Bish via a ‘wicked’ deflection.
Buckland said: “I’m disappointed on the bigger picture, not just with the late goal. If I live to be 100, I’ll never know how we didn’t win that game of football, comfortably. We totally and utterly bossed it.
“We had about 82 percent possession and 12 clear cut scoring opportunities. The footballing gods conspired against us. It was absolutely unbelievable and frustrating.
“We took a calculated risk in injury time by going gung ho and chucking everyone forward but they go up the other end on the 96th minute and score with their only shot on goal from a wicked deflection.
“You’d have to see it to believe it but you’ve just got to move on. We’ve enjoyed some good fortune this season but I’ve never had such bad luck as we had on Saturday.”
YM were also left questioning the amount of added time with Saltdean’s winner coming in the 96th minute when four were supposed to be added on.
Buckland said: “You’ve got make your own good fortune in football, but I do not remember a single incident in the second half which warranted that time added on and it was meant to be four minutes stoppage time.”
Buckland also rued the injuries in the squad, which he feels is the main reason behind their failure to score in the last three games.
He added: “It was bad enough with our injury list prior to the game but the lads that were selected did brilliantly.
“What I really put it down to is that we signed Tony Garrod to play alongside Sam Schaaf in a two up front formation but it’s just not been able to happen.
“Schaaf had been injured since February away to Worthing and Garrod missed the last two games.
“We’ve had to play Phil Johnson, who usually plays behind the striker, up top even though his knee is twice the size it should be.
“In an ideal world, we wouldn’t have him anywhere a near a football pitch but we’re at such an important stage.
“We also had Ash Dugdale, Dave Brown and Brad Curtis all missing and had to play Luke Gedling two weeks ahead of schedule.”
YM travel to Broadbridge Heath on Tuesday night, before facing two further local derbies against Loxwood and Crawley Down Gatwick in the next week.
Horsham YMCA: A.Jeal, Carden, Harding, Gilbert, Donaghey, Gedling (Moore 60), Donaldson, C.Jeal, Johnson (Schaaf 60), Cave, Evans.