Horsham YMCA extended their unbeaten run to nine games by beating Littlehampton Town 4-1 on Tuesday night.
In that unbeaten run, Peter Buckland’s men have won seven games, including victories against high-flyers Haywards Heath Town and Saltdean United to see them rise to fifth in the table.
Luke Donaldson, Luke Gelding, Sam Schaaf and former Golds midfielder Liam Humphreys all struck as they cruised to an emphatic win.
And manager Buckland described it as an industrious win. He said: “We knew we were going down with Callum Donaghey, Ash Dugdale and Dean Carden carrying slight knocks. You don’t really know until the warm up but I decided not to take the risk on them.
“It opens a window for other players and it was an industrious performance, not a silky one. That was dictated to by the conditions, the goalkeepers were kicking the balls with all their might and at times it would not reach the edge of the area. But it was one of those nights where you dig in and get on with it.
“They’re a feisty little side Littlehampton, and I can easily seem them getting out of trouble. The only difference, and I am sure they won’t mind me saying, was the quality in the final third.”
Littlehampton went in to the match high on confidence after they ended an 11-game wait for a league victory by beating Crawley Down Gatwick on Saturday. That win was enough to take them off the bottom of the table, but they failed to move further up the standings as YM proved too strong.
Donaldson’s pinpoint header handed YM a 15th-minute lead, which was how it stayed until the break. Gelding and Schaaf struck in around the hour to make it three.
Substitute Ben Gray got one back before Humphreys scored against his old club.
Buckland rested the three players with Saturday’s trip to Loxwood in mind. Only Brad Curtis, who has been out for a month, will be missing from that game.
The manager added: “It will be a tough one, as local derbies always are. Most people seem to want to turn us over.
“They have got a good squad and I have a lot of time for their chairman, and other than Saturday, I genuinely wish them well.”
Playmaker Brown is expected to start while Buckland hopes Charlie Cook, Liam Humphreys and Ashley Dugdale will be back in contention.