Horsham YMCA manager Peter Buckland believes that their excellent run of form has made promotion a ‘realistic target’.
YM’s convincing 6-0 win over Hassocks on Saturday means they have now won five consecutive games, taking them up to fifth in the Premier Division.
Despite having an earlier goal disallowed, Phil Johnson opened the scoring after just 12 minutes with his fourth goal in four games in all competitions.
Sam Schaaf added a quickfire double with two smart turns and expert finishes before the 20 minute mark.
YM showed no let up and found themselves leading 5-0 at the break, with Callum Donaghey scoring a towering header from a corner before Schaaf reacted quickest to a goalmouth scramble to complete his hat-trick.
Hassocks withstood further YM pressure until the 93rd minute, when Johnson converted his second of the afternoon after capitalising on a mistake from a Robins’ defender.
Buckland believes the impressive result puts them in contention for promotion this season, whilst also pointing to the positives from the return of several key players.
He said: “It’s going very well and it’s no coincidence that we’re slowly getting our best squad available which makes a big difference.
“It’s looking pretty good, we got Dave Brown on the pitch for 15 minutes on Saturday which he came through alright.
“Touch wood, I think we’ll have a full squad available for Peacehaven and from then on in.
“Hassocks are no mugs, we were really good in the first half. Second half was damage limitation from them to prevent double figures and they played really well.
“With the form we’re in, it (promotion) is a very realistic target. Saying that, you’ve only got to lose a couple of games back to back and it can change everything but with a full squad and looking at the spirit we’ve got at the place it looks very realistic.
“We’ve just got to keep taking every game as it comes, get what we can and keep up the momentum.”
Buckland was particularly pleased with how his side responded to the heavy mid-week Sussex Senior Cup 7-0 defeat at Lewes
He added: “We took a shallow side down to Lewes and I wasn’t confident that we would get anything down there, even at full strength.
“It was a night to forget but I made a conscious decision to take that one on the chin.”
YM, who have two games in hand on third-placed Chichester City, face second-placed Peacehaven this Saturday.
Buckland added: “All is well but we’ve got a big test coming up at Peacehaven, who are a very good, young and mobile side.
“All of a sudden it has become a really big game and we’re going to have to be right on it. The next two games can make a dramatic change to the table and if we can win both we’ll start to look serious contenders.
“By 19 games, I wanted us to be in the top five or six ready for the run in after Christmas and we’re there prior to what I expected.”
Horsham YMCA: Jeal, Carden, Harding (Brown 75), Gilbert, Donaghey, Gedling (Cave 70), Donaldson, Dugdale (Humphreys 60), Schaaf, Johnson, Evans.