Horsham YMCA manager Peter Buckland was full of praise for his team, and Dean Carden in particular, after their 1-0 win over Arundel moved them top of the Premier Division.
In his 400th game at the club, Carden put in ‘one of the best performances’ to date as captain Ashley Dugdale’s 66th-minute strike gave YM their seventh win in eight games.
The result meant that YM took over first place in the league, a point ahead of second-placed Haywards Heath, who have played a game less.
Buckland said: “It’s a much better feeling than when we fourth from bottom in September, I can tell you that.
“It shows what a remarkable turnaround it’s been by the squad. We turned the corner about 20 games ago I think.
“It’s a great camp at the moment and there is a good atmosphere.
“It’s nice to be top, albeit they (Haywards Heath) have a game in hand so a lot is going to ride on that game.”
On Carden, Buckland added: “He did very well. We gave him a bottle of champagne and offered him the captaincy but he declined because he didn’t want any added pressure.
“It was one of this best games for YM which was quite fitting for his 400th appearance. He did really well, it didn’t faze him at all.
“He’s so experienced, he keeps himself fit and never misses training. He’s a good character round the dressing room and he is very easy to manage.”
Arundel, who sit third from bottom, travelled to Gorings Mead with a daunting challenge of facing a YM side who have lost just twice since October.
However, The Mullets put in a good display to keep the hosts at bay until after the hour mark when Dugdale smashed home from the edge of the box following only a half-cleared corner.
Buckland acknowledged the strong display by the visitors, but believes a home win was well deserved.
He added: “It turned out to be a tough game, it was a much-improved Arundel side.
“The conditions weren’t good and we only won 1-0 but if I’m being honest it should have been two or three. We were in control of the game and it was a good three points.
“I was glad to hear the final whistle as at 1-0 anything can happen. They did break through and forced our keeper into a good save.
“Your heart is in your mouth the whole time and you’re waiting for that second goal to take the pressure off.
“They did well and the most important thing was the three points.”
Horsham YMCA: Jeal, Carden, Harding, Gilbert, Donaghey, Gedling, Donaldson, Dugdale, Schaaf (Cave 56), Johnson, Brown.