Last Saturday Horsham became the first team this season to take three points off runaway South Premier Division 2 leaders Guildford.
Previously beaten 9-1 away at Guildford, Horsham came good to avenge their thrashing earlier in the season.
Horsham have played tremendous hockey in the past few weeks and won this strictly on merit, scoring goals, then parking the bus to shut Guildford out.
Horsham went ahead after seven minutes from their first short corner. Sean Pearcy’s drag flick was parried by the ‘keeper, but Chas Richardson was first to the rebound and netted from close in.
Guildford looked shell-shocked but went about their business playing slick hockey. Bizarrely, as in the game two weeks ago, the match turned when Horsham were defending a short corner and a substitution was waiting.
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Under pressure a Horsham defender cleared somewhat wildly but Toby Fraser, coming on serendipitously at the half-way line, picked it cleanly.
Running wide he drew a Guildford defender and crossed cleverly for Sam MacDonald to tap in from short range.
Meanwhile the home net-minder and Horsham’s man-of-the-match, Joe Elgar, was having the game of his life making spectacular saves.
Despite his heroics Guildford clawed a goal back but, just when the pressure was on again, Horsham broke away, created an overlap, and Zak Chinn scored his fourth goal since the New Year.
Up 3-1 at half-time Horsham knew the second-half would bring all-out onslaught. Predictably the visitors got a goal back, but they were visibly rattled.
Whilst Horsham played with composure, Guildford had players sent off.
Horsham have hugely improved discipline in recent weeks and the final card count showed Guildford with four greens and a yellow, to a single green for Horsham, Freddie Campbell taking one for the team to shut out a cross.
Then it was nip and tuck all the way to the final whistle, Horsham toughing it out with Elgar once again making some amazing saves.
Manager Al Campbell said: “We’ve said all season we had the ability to beat anybody in this league – I just didn’t expect it to be the leaders!”
Horsham’s captain Rob Turnull added: “This was a brilliant team performance and long coming.
“It’s a real validation of how tight this squad have become, but real credit to Elgar who kept us in it throughout.”
This coming Saturday Horsham travel to bottom-of-the-table Woking. After this show three more points should be on the cards.