NEW HORSHAM YMCA boss Mark Hawthorne is still searching for his first win after his lack-lustre side suffered a 1-0 home defeat to fellow Division 1 strugglers Shoreham.
Josh Clayman’s goal, five minutes into the second half, was all that separated the two sides, but it was a frustrating afternoon all round for the hosts, who are now winless in eight league outings.
Hawthorne’s men saw just one shot on target all game, and also had both midfielder Lewis Scally and new coach Alan Kenworthy dismissed from the action.
Kenworthy was sent to the stand following comments aimed towards referee Darren Eaton from the dugout, before youngster Scally was shown red for a second bookable offence late on.
Hawthorne said: “To be fair, we should have been three goals down at half time; we were lucky to still be in the game. And then obviously it was a well taken goal, but after that we made a few changes and we finished pretty well.
“It was just too little too late to be honest and yes, I am disappointed.”
YM were without striker George Hillier due to work commitments, whilst Dan Smith, Liam Hunter and Dean Wright formed a trio of players who, just returning from injury, could only be named on the bench. That meant manager Hawthorne had to deputise in midfield, and a first start was handed to youth team player Dan Skett. New signing Shane Graham missed out with a cold.
Shoreham started the brighter side, a Clayman shot ricocheting off YM defender Matt Crane on its way towards goal, before striker Dominic Shepherd saw a free header come back off the post from 12 yards.
A questionable YM defence couldn’t keep up with the experience of Shepherd and Gareth Green up front, the former rattling the YM crossbar with a free kick on the quarter hour mark.
But there was little in the way of chances for either side after that, as the play became fragmented in the middle of the park. YM’s only shot on target all game came at the end of the first 45 minutes, when Dan Sullivan’s free kick was tipped over by The Musselmen’s ‘keeper Sam Armfield.
The second half followed a similar pattern to the first, with the visitors flying out of the traps in the early exchanges. Green sliced wide when well placed, before the deadlock was broken five minutes after the restart, a long free kick flicked onto an unmarked Clayman, who coolly curled past YM stopper Simon Lockwood.
YM responded by replacing out of place youngster, Skett, and boss Hawthorne, with the fresh legs of Dean Wright and Liam Hunter.
But the change seemed only to spur YM on in their off the ball antics, rather than helping them to find that elusive leveller. Hunter was booked less than a minute after coming on and coach Kenworthy was banished from the YM dugout by referee Eaton moments later.
Green then clattered the YM crossbar for the second time in the match, before YM’s Lee Wood wasted a good opportunity to equalise when he dragged a tame attempt wide of the near post, and Scally was shown red to conclude a dismal afternoon for the hosts.
Hawthorne added, “I was disappointed with Lewis’ [second] yellow card because the referee has booked both players for a tackle, which is something I have never come across, and so it was bizarre to say the least.
“With regards to Alan [Kenworthy], he said a few comments to the referee, but all afternoon there were comments to him. I won’t go into whether that’s right or wrong, but what Alan said to the referee was just the same as what others were saying.
YM are away at Mile Oak in the Brighton Charity Cup this Saturday.
YM (4-5-1): Lockwood, D Sullivan, Crane, King, Stillwell, Hawthorne (Wright 51), Wood, Scally, Skett (Hunter 51), N Sullivan, Martin.