Horsham were left feeling aggrieved at a series of umpiring decisions that left both sides and spectators puzzled in their 2-2 draw with South Premier Division 2 basement boys Slough.
Horsham scored in the second minute of the game, and again one minute from full-time. In between they had most of the play but failed to turn possession into goals.
Slough prop up the bottom of the division. Having beaten them in the first half of the season, this was Horsham’s chance to do the double.
They could not have wished for a better start as their first attack led to a short corner. The visiting ‘keeper could only parry Tim Upchurch’s powerful flick onto Zak Chinn’s stick giving Chinn all the time he needed to line up his own flick and score.
Slough, pointless in the first half of the season, had finally got on the league scoreboard the previous week leading to concerns that they may have recruited new blood in the winter break. As it transpired the home team took control of the game, playing some beautiful possession and passing hockey.
A rare visitors’ attack brought the scores level, a Horsham mistake gifting a short corner. The Slough flicker stepped up and scored a truly magnificent goal high past ‘keeper Joe Elgar’s left hand – a feat he was unable to repeat on six subsequent attempts.
Horsham continued to play their best hockey of the year. Freddie Campbell could and should have scored. So too Jean Marshall, amongst others. Yet the sides turned around at half -ime with the score 1-1.
The second half was more of the same, Horsham notching up seven shot corners and pulling saves from the Slough keeper who was their man of the match. Horsham should have closed the game out but hadn’t reckoned on the umpiring factor – suddenly being heavily penalised for normally innocuous tackles.
This culminated when Elgar was adjudged to have given away a penalty flick. Horsham players agreed it should have been a foul and a short corner, but were incredulous at the decision. The more so as, if it was a penalty, Elgar should have been yellow carded. He remained on the field but was beaten by the flick.
New match day coach Brian Humphreys managed to refocus his players into an attacking onslaught for the last ten minutes. Two minutes from time Noah Chinn won a short corner and Sean Pearcy converted to draw the game.
“It’s a point in the bin,’ Horsham manager Al Campbell said after the game. “It should have been three, but that’s hockey.”
On Saturday Horsham travel to High Wycombe, possibly with the momentum finally turning in their favour.