Horsham came across the ‘Sergio Agüero’ of South Premier Division 2 in their 4-2 defeat at West Hampstead.
Boys’ comics back in the sixties had one great sporting mantra: ‘it’s goals that count’. Never was this more the case than at London’s Brent Cross last Saturday, when a dominant Horsham were undone by a hat-trick from the league’s second top scorer.
Generally high scorers in this league are short corner specialists – viz Horsham’s Sean Pearcy, currently fourth in the scorers’ table with 15 goals.
Hampstead’s Chris Todd, 34 years old and wise beyond his years, holds second place with 17 goals scored in open play, mostly from within two metres of the goal line.
Since Jack Dean moved to university two seasons ago, Horsham have lacked a six-yard poacher. In the second half, Todd opportunistically scored twice in five minutes, effectively ending Horsham chances.
Todd’s first goal came within two minutes of the start, a push from a seemingly impossible angle finding the net following a goalmouth scramble.
Horsham woke up and redressed the balance within five minutes, Ed Marsh scoring his second goal in two games in similar circumstances. A full-on game of hockey ensued. It was cut-and-thrust with Horsham getting more possession and better chances.
There were no short corners in the first 35 minutes, the game mostly played in the middle of the park. Horsham keeper Joe Elgar was hardly troubled, except for one magnificent diving save.
Horsham forced four good saves from the home keeper.
With the score 1-1 at half-time, Horsham were convinced the game would be theirs. Yet Todd fiddled his second goal from tight on the line eight minutes after the restart. His third, five minutes later, was fired in from an equally acute angle.
Still Horsham had most of the play and forced several short corners. They need to be slicker as, following a mis-trap at a corner the home team countered, caught the Horsham defence flat-footed and left Elgar one-on-one in his goal and the lead extended to 4-1. Sean Pearcy converted a short corner for a consolation, but it was too little too late.
“We came across the Sergio Agüero of South Premier 2 when he was on fire,” manager Al Campbell said after the game. “You just have to admire that goal-scoring finesse and put it down to experience.”
This week, Horsham entertain Eastbourne at Christ’s Hospital in what will be a preview of April’s Sussex Cup final.