New signing Chris Williams showed there’s life after Elliott Romain with a fine hat-trick as Horsham YMCA grabbed a highly impressive, and much-needed three points away at Hassocks on Tuesday night.
Romain has returned to Ryman South strugglers Three Bridges, where he was dual signed, for the rest of thew season, but former Dorking Wanderers man Williams showed he knows where the goal is in only his second appearance in YM colours.
And with fellow striker Martin Smith out for around a month, an impressive performance from Oli Leslie - called up from the Reserves - and the return of forward Leroy Hyett gave hope that a new-look front line can provide the firepower missing of late.
YM Boss Peter Buckland said: “Chris has been the top scorer at Dorking for the last three or four season but like all players sometimes a change is what is needed. I almost apologised for our performance on Saturday (a 3-1 defeat at home to Shoreham, Williams’ first game) which was one of our worst and said I want him playing on the last man and in the 18 yards corridor and he did that superbly against Hassocks.”
Buckland felt his side controlled the game from virtually the first to the last whistle, but they were behind when they were caught out attacking a corner, the home keeper launching the ball over two covering defenders for striker Nathan Miles to run onto and score after 20 minutes.
Williams came close to levelling before half-time with a shot on the turn which struck the inside of the post and was hacked clear off the line.
At the break Buckland instructed his side to use the space in behind the home defence and his players carried out his instructions to the letter.
Billy Ramsey’s ball over the top split the two Hassocks centre backs and Williams latched onto it and slotted past the keeper for his first YM goal after 54 minutes.
Tall striker Leslie then chested a ball down before threading a perfect diagonal ball to put strike partner Williams in again, and this time he rounded the keeper before finding the net again.
And just three minutes later the “goal of the game” saw Williams complete his hat-trick. A slick eight-pass move started by Liam Hunter and Ash Dugdale and involving Dan Evans and Brad Curtis eventually saw Hunter play a deft ball over the home defence and Williams completed a “proper goal”.
And in a more than comfortable finish Ramsey played another fine pass over to substitute Hyett, who’s stunning strike came back off the underside of the bar as YM settled for three.
YM’s form has been the definition of inconsistence recently but Buckland hopes this win will set up a strong finish. He said: “It’s a result which has been waiting to happen. Hassocks are a more than decent team, especially at home but I thought we controlled the game from start to finish.
“It was definitely one of our best performance of the corner and I really believe we’ve turned a corner now. Anything from top six to mid-table would be a good finish.”
YM (4-4-2): Williams; Sullivan, Burgess, Hartt, Evans; Curtis, Dugdale, Hunter (Lowe 80), Ramsey; Williams, Lesley (Hyett 70).