Steyning Town caused the shock of the day in the FA Vase as they overcame division-higher Horsham 1-0 after extra time.
Horsham manager Dom Di Paola summed the game up with the comment ‘they worked hard and took their chance and we didn’t’, which was a fair assessment of the two hours of football watched by a crowd of almost 300 at The Shooting Field on Saturday afternoon.
Both teams were greeted by a heavy pitch after a couple of days of persistent rain but the first half saw Horsham utterly dominate as Alan Skipper’s men opted to, as the he rightly said, ‘park the bus’ and rely on quick breaks, a tactic that became more difficult to enact with the early withdrawal of Lewis Levoi through injury in the 19th minute.
Despite all the possession Horsham failed to create any real chances, resorting to long range efforts that never troubled home ‘keeper Ben Rose. It wasn’t until the 29th minute that the visitors hit the target when Jordan Clark’s cross found Charlie Farmer but the latter’s flick was straight at the grateful Rose.
Hornets did have the ball in the back of the Steyning net after 40 minutes as Joe Shelley nodded across goal for Terry Dodd to head home but the striker was adjudged to have pushed man-of-the-match Danny Gainsford in the process.
The second half saw the Barrowmen pose more of an attacking threat and they should have taken the lead in the 49th minute when a hopeful long ball should have been gathered by Horsham goalkeeper Gareth Williams but he let it trickle through his legs into Rob Clark’s path but the forward managed to put his effort wide under pressure from Alex Duncan from 18 yards.
The visitors’ best chance came via all their substitutes as Arron Hopkinson’s cross was missed by Nathan Crabb and Evan Archibald with the latter opting for a stooping header when presented with a simple tap in on 78 minutes.
Extra-time came but little changed regarding the game itself with the only notable chance in the first period being a Charlie Farmer long shot that sailed over the bar.
Hornets continued to push for a winner with Gainsford standing tall and putting his body on the line to block a Crabb effort then a Hopkinson header.
The eventual winner came two minutes from full-time after Alex Duncan headed a corner clear at the near post but Jordan Peskett was not closed down and his left footed in-swinging cross was flicked inside the far post by Lee Garnham to wild celebrations both on and off the pitch.
Home boss Skipper said afterwards: “They’re a decent side and we knew that so we had a game-plan which the boys all stuck to; we asked them to do a job and they all did proving that we also have a good side.
“The support today was brilliant and just reward for the board and all their hard work. It would be nice if we could play like that in the league as well.”
Disappointed Horsham manager Di Paola lamented after the game: “The pitch was a bit of a leveller but Steyning deserved the win. Some of our boys need to have a look at themselves as they just didn’t play well enough to win the game if truth be told.
“Sides keep doing this to us and we need to do better to break them down and actually do what we’re asking them to do.”
Steyning Town: Rose, Skipper (Hartley 74), Hare, Elms, Finch, Gainsford, Knowles (Hunt 97), Dodd, Levoi (Peskett 17), Garnham, Clark. Unused subs: McMahon, Asseffi.
Horsham: Williams, Hunt, Duncan, Clark, Jones, Farmer, Shelley, Lewis (Crabb 74), Dodd (Archibald 61), Pamment (Hopkinson 74), Boswell. Unused subs: Storrie, Chadwick.