Horsham YMCA substitute Dan Evans was hailed as the game changer as he helped his side to another important three points in the Premier Division promotion race on Saturday.
Coming on for the final 20 minutes the versatile wide player helped ‘turn the game on its head’ in the final 20 minutes according to his manager Peter Buckland.
A 77th-minute goal from Jack Hartley and strike four minutes later from Dean Bown helped YM to a 2-0 home win over Eastbourne United.
It kept the Gorings Mead outfit second in the table, ten points behind leaders Chichester City, but three ahead of third-placed Newhaven, who have a game in hand.
Buckland said: “I wasn’t expecting a gimme game and it wasn’t. I was really impressed with them in the first-half and I thought we might be in trouble.
“First-half was nip-and-tuck, that said we did miss a couple of opportunities and so did they. It was about right 0-0 at half-time and then we realised we needed to change formation which we did.
“We brought Dan Evans on to get down the left-flank and he turned the game on its head.
“I always say it as it is, there was only one team going to win it and they might have nicked a 0-0.
“When the ball did go in it was a relief and of course they had to open up a bit because the game’s lost for them.
“We scored the second one but special credit to Dan Evans. He’s been with us a long time and he was on the bench because he missed the last two weeks.
“He came on and did exactly what was asked of him and he turned the game on its head. I’ve been working with him trying not to turn his back on goal to keep seeing what’s going on around him.
“His game is in the penalty-box, simple as. We play him high up the field in there, stay on-side and the chances will come.”
Eastbourne started well and had two good opportunities from a header and shot that went narrowly wide. The hosts responded with Tony Nwachukwu failing to get a shot away and Luke Gedling shooting just side when well placed.
Tom Gilbert headed wide from a corner and Eastbourne put a well-placed free kick over the bar as neither side found a breakthrough in the first half.
YM improved after the break, but Aaron Jeal needed to be on hand to produce a one-handed save.
Buckland rang the changes bringing on Adam Hunt and Evans and it was the latter that helped spark the game into life. YM eventually took the lead through J Hartley and soon after Bown finished from close range to put the game to bed.
YM travel to third-placed Newhaven in a pivotal game at the top of the table.
Horsham YMCA: Jeal, Carden, Harding, Gilbert, Gill (Evans 64), Gedling, Hartley (Wadhams 86), Barbary, Bown, Ryder, Nwachukwu (Hunt 58). Unused: Pavlovic, Frankland.