Luckless Horsham left fuming at shocking umpire decision in Wayfarers defeat

Chas Richardson. Picture by Nick Evans

Luckless Horsham were left fuming at what they felt was a shocking umpiring decision that cost them dearly in a 4-1 defeat to London Wayfarers.

More importantly, other relegation zone club, second-from-bottom Henley, having nicked a rare three points - a 2-1 win away to Indian Gymkhana - it has almost certainly doomed Horsham to relegation from South Premier Division 1.

Horsham's 17-year-old goalscorer Sam Bugler. Picture by Nick Evans

They are now four points behind Henley and seven behind Milton Keynes with six games left to play.

Played on a municipal pitch in south London, against a backdrop of high-rise council flats, in steady rain, this was never going to be festival hockey.

Horsham slipped up and let in a soft goal with only three minutes on the clock, but then got their game face on and started to take control.

By the time the whistle blew for half-time, Horsham had created a series of chances, thwarted only by their failure to find a way around the tallest goalkeeper in the league and trailed by the solitary goal.

Still, at 1-0 down at the restart, Horsham were dominating, feeling they only needed to be patient to end up on top. But then came controversy as a Wayfarers winger cut in towards the D and fired in a cross.

The pass looked harmless, but Horsham ‘keeper Isaacs miscued his kick and diverted the ball into his own net.

With no such thing as an own goal in hockey, everybody expected a long corner. The umpire, however, stood and stared for an interminable time before awarding a goal.

“Immediately as the umpire blew, the Wayfarers’ coach came across and apologised to me,” Horsham manager Al Campbell commented.

“He said that he was certain the ball was struck outside the D as, had his team scored, they would have been jumping up and down and celebrating.”

This view was corroborated by other Wayfarers players.

“It seems like he just guessed,” Campbell added, “but at this level the rule should be that if you don’t know, you don’t blow.”

Rather than controlling the game, Horsham now had to chase it. With the team pressing high Wayfarers scored two breakaway strikes.

Cranleigh schoolboy Sam Bugler, 17, will have been delighted to score his first goal for Horsham at this level, but it was too little, too late.

Horsham take on fourth-placed Bromley & Beckenham at home on Saturday.

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