‘The boys deserved three points strictly on merit’ - much-needed win against Staines

Horsham v Slough hockey. Jean Marshall. Pic Steve Robards SR1901184 SUS-190121-130532001
Horsham v Slough hockey. Jean Marshall. Pic Steve Robards SR1901184 SUS-190121-130532001

Things finally came right for Horsham at Christ’s Hospital on Saturday as they secured just their fourth win of the season in South Premier Division 2.

Following a run of fine performances with little to show, they comprehensively beat a Staines team 3-2, to whom they had lost to 7-1 in the first half of the season.

Staines turned up with a scant 11 players and without their main coach, who had been red-carded and given a four match ban the previous week.

But that should take nothing away from a Horsham side who were out in force.

Senior coach Dom Male was available to play - his experience adds 10 per cent to team performance and, without doubt, he helped inspire this win.

Another important factor was new net minder Joe Elgar who made five important saves and looks set to be worth at least two or three goals a game.

Horsham scored within two minutes of the start. A full press and clever forward play led to a foul in the Staines D and Sean Pearcy converted the short corner.

Ten minutes later, Pearcy had a more straightforward chance, this time from the penalty spot, but his flick was high, and the Staines keeper gloved it round the post.

Horsham’s discipline then slipped and, following both yellow and green cards, the home side were briefly down to nine men.

Match day coach Brian Humphreys reorganised his defence, and the side made it to half-time still one goal to the good.

Staines’ equaliser was a bit of a mystery. A hopeful crash ball from their midfield made it through the D and into Elgar’s net.

To general disbelief, Staines claimed a touch and the umpire gave a goal.

Horsham needed a moment of brilliance. It came courtesy of centre-mid Freddie Campbell who picked up quickly on a free hit, jinked past four Staines players and cleverly fed the ball into the red zone for Jean Marshall to divert past the keeper.

Ed Marsh has been knocking on the door with several man-of-the-match performances in recent weeks.

It was fitting then that he put the final nail in the Staines coffin, capitalising on a rebound off the visiting keeper’s pads. At the death, Staines nicked a consolation goal. But the points rightly stayed at home.

“The boys deserved the three points strictly on merit,” manager Al Campbell said after the game.

“Brian has the boys playing as a unit and gaining momentum. Next week is a harder game away at West Hampstead, but anything is possible.”

The result saw Horsham pull six points clear of the division’s bottom two teams.