Late Tolfrey header helps Horsham halt Phoenix’s rise and secure much-needed win

High fives for opening goalscorer George Landais. Picture by John Lines

A late header from Tom Tolfrey secured a first three points in three league games for Horsham, as they ran out 2-1 winners again Phoenix Sports at Culver Road.

The hosts started brightly as a deep cross from George Landais just evaded the onrushing Toby House after three minutes, before Alfie Rogers skewed his volley well wide from all of six yards after another teasing delivery from Landais on the left.

George Landais fires home against Phoenix Sports. Picture by John Lines

The hosts were rewarded for their for their scintillating start on 15 minutes, as Landais collected the ball deep inside the Phoenix half, before effortlessly dancing past the backline and expertly slotting the ball past Steve Phillips.

Despite their dominance in the early stages, the Hornets were nearly pegged back immediately from the restart, as Jeff Duah-Kessie’s powerful run and cross found Kwekwu Ansah, who could only prod his shot wide of the mark from all of 12 yards out.

Rogers had a great chance to double the home side’s lead, however, he was denied by a great one handed save from Phillips on 20 minutes, with House unable to get a touch on the rebound. .

Horsham’s number one then had to be alert once again as he parried a header clear from a near-post corner on the stroke of half-time.

Horsham's Tom Tolfrey is congratulated on his winner against Phoenix Sports. Picture by John Lines

Phoenix should have been level inside two minutes of the second half, a Joe Shelley error allowed Duah-Kessie a free run at goal, but he could only poke wide from five yards.

Another chance went begging for the visitors just 60 seconds later, as Ryan Andrews’ squared ball was met first time by Ansah, whose shot was deflected wide.

Phoenix did draw level on 60 minutes as Duah-Kessies cross was only half cleared, allowing Ansah to power a stooping header beyond Pelling, who despite his best efforts, could not prevent the ball from crossing the line.

That setback only spurred Horsham on however, as Tolfrey’s curling effort from the edge of the box forced a fine save from Phillips. Another sweeping move saw substitute Tony Nwachukwu’s mazy run find Rogers, who blazed his effort high and wide.

A moment of quality then saw the Hornets retake the lead on 83 minutes, as Scott Kirkwood’s fantastic cross was glanced into the bottom corner by the head of Tolfrey.

At the other end, substitute Alfie Aldrige’s shot took a wicked deflection, forcing Pelling to tip the ball around his near post for a corner, which the home side dealt with comfortably as Horsham held out in the final moments to climb to 12th in the table.

Horsham: Pelling, Rogers, Shelley, Farmer, Hyde, Street (Metcalf 61), Axell, Kirkwood, House (Nwachukwu 67), Tolfrey, Landais (Boswell 81).Unused: Gayler, Adelakun.

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