Horsham Men’s Firsts warmed up for Saturday’s league opener with a high-scoring draw away at Purley.
But having led the friendly 4-1 at half-time against the side that denied them promotion at the end of last season, skipper Duncan Howarth was left with mixed emotions. He said: “It was a disappointing second half performance that resulted in us throwing away a three goal advantage.
“Nevertheless, we showed great promise and continued our improvement in the first half, and to think we lost 4-0 to the same team in the South League play-off Final four months ago shows how far we have come.”
Two goals from James Chesterton and strikes from John Burroughs and Howarth saw the visitors go into the half-time interval with a 4-1 lead having played the best half of hockey in the whole of pre-season.
Despite conceding a goal early in the second half, Horsham responded with a fifth soon after. But after a tight 15 minutes Purley added a third, and then took advantage of Horsham going down to ten men with two more in the final ten minutes to draw the game.
Howarth added: “We go into our first league game with Brighton II on Saturday confident that we can put in a performance and take the three points.”