Horsham captain Andy Isaacs revealed a second-half comeback that came up just short ‘shows promise’ and gives his young side something to build on after a tricky start to the season in South Premier Division 1.
They sit second-from-bottom in the table, level on points with basement boys Henley and a 3-2 defeat at third-from-bottom Milton Keynes on Saturday, leaves Isaac’s side four points behind.
The skipper admitted they left themselves down at the weekend, trailing 3-0 at half-time, but believes his young squad are learning.
With just one win from seven games, Horsham have not enjoyed the best of starts, but it must be taken into account they have lost 11 players in total from last year - some of which were experienced team stalwarts.
Issacs said: “We have a very young squad, a young squad with a lot of promise, but a young squad. Sometimes when you have a young squad you miss the experienced characters who know how to shut a game down and close the gates in front of the goal.
“This is showing through. As a side we hopefully are starting to learn, but we now need to stop allowing ourselves to find excuses.
“We do need a win in the next couple of weeks so that we can take some encouragement out of three points and go from there, but it is going to be tough as the so-called easier games have gone. However, there is no such thing as an easy game in this league as each side on its day can beat any other.
“The key factor has been the loss of experienced players such as Dom Male, Dom Cohen and John Burroughs, but he players we have brought in are young and talented.”
On Saturday, both sides created half chances through the use of counter attacks but were unable to find their teammates in the circle.
Built-up pressure resulted in Milton Keynes scoring a tap in at the far post by the unmarked Nick Anderson.
The home side kept up the pressure resulting in a penalty corner, leading to a goal via a deflected flick from the top from Callum Kumar-Shaw.
Milton Keynes managed to punish the visitors one last time before the end of the half as Rob Shearer reacted first to Isaac’s low save.
Horsham came out and meant business in the second half and it didn’t take long for Chas Richardson to smash the ball past the ‘keeper for 3-1.
With Horsham on the offensive, the ball found its way to Barney Knights-Johnson who pulled a second goal back with his reverse stick.
At 3-2 the home side found some resilience and managed to push away the Horsham attacks, of which there were many, but they failed to score a vital equaliser.
Issacs added: “We absolutely let ourselves down in the first 35 minutes and after a rallying half-time chat the lads came out fighting and very strong. We now need to take this second-half performance into our future games and we stand a fighting chance.
“We shipped three sloppy goals owing to poor defensive structure from the side. The disappointment is that we need to turn up to games with the right mentality and approach, if we do that as we did in the second half of the game then we show promise.”
Horsham host Oxford University at home on Saturday (12noon).