Ten-man second-half spell does the damage against Old Cranleighians

Horsham's Sam Gill making a tackle. Picture by Nick Evans
Horsham's Sam Gill making a tackle. Picture by Nick Evans

Horsham hosted top-of-the-table Old Cranleighans on Saturday in South Premier Division 1 as they looked to bounce back from last weekend’s disappointing loss away to Henley.

The home side got off to a good start at Christ’s Hospital, with patient transfer around the back and lots of movement from the midfield allowing the ball easy passage up the pitch.

The forwards used their skill and pace to create opportunities that unfortunately were not rewarded.

Old Cranleighans also created opportunities of their own, testing Horsham’s defence through fast attacks and a number of penalty corners which the home side did well to clear. As neither of the teams could capitalise on their chances the first half ended 0-0.

The second half began with more of the same, both teams sharing equal possession and not giving the other team a chance to score. But as the half continued to progress Old Cranleighans showed why they were at the top of the table.

After a loose tackle on the halfway line reduced Horsham to ten players the away team stepped up the pressure. Their first goal was a deflection which took the ball just past the keeper.

Two more goals closely followed the first, stunning Horsham into a response. Suddenly the home team regained their composure once more with 11 players and began to apply pressure inside their opponents half, and were unfortunate not to score any goals.

With Horsham pushing bodies forward in a desperate search for a goal, Old Cranleighans were able to counter, leading to a penalty corner that eventually resulted in the fourth and final goal of the game.

Horsham’s man of the match award went to Sean Pearcy for his work rate, winning the ball in the tackles and releasing pressure through use of the overhead pass.

After the match, he said: “The boys put in some really good hockey against a very good side. If we keep up the hard work the wins will come.”

Old Cranleighans opened up a three-point lead at the top of the table with the win, while Horsham dropped from third to eighth.

On Saturday, Horsham travel to Winchester in search of their first win of the season away from home.