First defeat of the year knocks Horsham’s men off their perch

JPCT 261013 S13430348x HOCKEY: Horsham Men's 1sts v Old Cranleighans -photo by Steve Cobb
JPCT 261013 S13430348x HOCKEY: Horsham Men's 1sts v Old Cranleighans -photo by Steve Cobb

Horsham Men’s 1sts suffered their first defeat of the season, and the blow was made all the more painful as they lost top spot in the process.

Taking on an Old Cranleighans side who were also unbeaten and sat just below them in the table in atrocious conditions, it was an open start with chances at either end.

Once the game settled it turned into a midfield battled, with both sides turning over possession. Old Cranleighans struck first with a goal from a flowing team move, though despite the setback Horsham remained confident and continued to press.

The hosts struck back with an equaliser when good work down the left then saw John Kimberley dart along the baseline and find Matt Hough in space, and he finished past the oncoming goalkeeper.

And a few minutes before half time there was drama when an Old Cranleighans player swung a stick across coach Dom Male’s legs and the umpire, in full view flashed a red card.

With the score at 1-1 at half time and a man down, Horsham felt their opponents were there for the taking.

But despite continued attacks and the majority of possession, OCs sat back and played a very compact formation, crowding the space and soaking up the pressure.

In going all out for the winner, Horsham were a little stretched at times and OCs launched an incisive break. A valiant but desperate tackle from Mark Vivian saw him sin binned and from the penalty corner awarded, OCs worked a routine in front of goalkeeper Ed Heathcock to deflect a shot into the net.