Wooley’s hat-trick nets crucial three points at Havant

Hockey: South Premier Division 1: Horsham v Henley. Pic Steve Robards SR1636141 SUS-161212-105003001
Hockey: South Premier Division 1: Horsham v Henley. Pic Steve Robards SR1636141 SUS-161212-105003001

Having nicked a point off league leaders Bromley & Beckenham in their opening 2017 game, Horsham travelled to Havant, currently second in South Premier Division 1.

For the second time running they surprised the opposition, doing the double and winning strictly on merit.

It was a fine team performance which produced a 4-2 victory and lifted Horsham one place to tenth in the table.

Skipper Andy Isaacs put in a notable shift between the sticks against his old club, but overall the game belonged to striker Ellis Wooley, whose hat-trick shocked a Havant defence that had let in well under two goals a game.

Wooley netted his first after six minutes when Dom Male’s speculative pass was misjudged by a defender. The ball fell kindly to Wooley and his powerful shot gave the keeper no chance.

Havant came back hard and fast, their short corner specialist scoring on the stoke of half-time. They may have expected Horsham to roll over but John Burroughs hadn’t read the script. Collecting the ball at the restart he ran at the opposition, beating five defenders and putting Barney Knights-Johnson clear in front of goal.

His shot was saved but Wooley followed up on the rebound, proving that the old hockey mantra ‘always hunt in pairs’ is as true as ever.

Havant restored the balance from another short corner, but Horsham started to dominate. An attack down the right let Sam Gill cross behind the defence and newbie Sean Pearcy literally dived in at the back post to tip in. Shortly after Wooley scored his third with a powerful drag flick.

With 12 minutes to go, team manager Al Campbell put 10 men between the ball and the goal and Horsham saw out a comfortable victory.

He said: “Amazingly seven of our 11 points have come against the top two teams in the league.

“If we can carry this form into midtable games we can start to think about survival.”

Horsham welcome Banbury, now one place below, this weekend for a classic six-pointer.