Horsham blood youngsters in final-day dead-rubber loss to London Academicals

Horsham v Slough hockey. Rob Turnbull. Pic Steve Robards SR1901205 SUS-190121-130702001
Horsham v Slough hockey. Rob Turnbull. Pic Steve Robards SR1901205 SUS-190121-130702001

Horsham’s last game of the season against London Academicals in South Premier Division 2 looked something of a non-event for two teams with nothing to play for other than pride.

Horsham arrived at a pitch under the shadow of Millwall’s famous Den with only 12 players. Academicals could only muster a scant 11 and for a dead-rubber, this turned out to be a pretty good match.

Horsham have regularly been short throughout the senior teams this season. Due to injury and non-availability only nine full squad members were available.

Making the most of it skipper Rob Turnbull pulled up three young players from the second team: Joe Tait, Solly Woodall and Harry Beard who had some first team form earlier in the season and all acquitted themselves well.

Given the fairly makeshift set up of the Horsham side it was perhaps not surprising they got caught unawares six minutes into the game when a mix-up in the D resulted in a goal for the home side.

By half-time they were dominating possession and taking control. This continued for the first 20 minutes of the second half with Horsham playing fluent clever possession hockey, mostly inside the home team’s half, creating a range of chances.

The one obstacle they could not surmount however was the Accies keeper. Standing at 6ft 6 in he had shut them out of the Horsham home fixture at Christ’s Hospital. Here he did the same, the young forwards perhaps lacking the guile to work their way through the defence and around him.

Had Horsham found the net the feeling was they could go on to take the points. As it was, with Horsham pressing and both teams tiring Accies managed to find a second goal against the run of play.

“Overall we have to be pleased with our performance and much credit to the young guys who grew throughout the game and made a significant contribution,” manager Al Campbell.

“We’ll be losing a few players back to Uni next season and it’s good to see some depth of talent in the club.”

Due to results elsewhere Horsham slipped a place in the league to 10th but still clear of relegation. The focus now will be on their defence of the Sussex Cup against Eastbourne on April 13 at Hurst School.