Horsham suffer crushing defeat to basement boys

Peter Neave. Horsham v Henley. Picture by Nick Evans
Peter Neave. Horsham v Henley. Picture by Nick Evans

Horsham slipped to the bottom of the league table under floodlights at Christ’s Hospital as they suffered a crushing defeat to previous basement boys Henley.

The South Premier Division 1 was seen as a must-win game against the only side below them in the table, but they fell to a 4-1 reverse.

Horsham team manager Al Campbell felt they didn’t really deserve to lose the clash which has left them wondering when their luck will turn.

In front of a crowd of vocal supporters, Horsham started the Saturday night clash brightly and soon had Henley under pressure.

An early attack saw Barney Knights-Johnson scoop the ball inches wide of the post – two inches to the left and the whole game may have been different.

Horsham also won early penalty corners, but have failed to find the back of the net from set pieces in the last three games and the pattern remained unchanged.

The home side were on top five minutes before half-time, when a melee in the home D saw the ball flying across Andy Isaacs’ goal to be swiped in by a reflex shot at head height. And the teams changed ends at the break with Horsham a goal down.

The main challenge the team have faced this season is loss of experienced players. This is a relatively young squad, not as well versed in guile and gamesmanship as their opposition.

At this level games often turn on lack of concentration or moment of frustration and, once again, Horsham were their own worst enemy.

Ten minutes after the restart a poorly-judged pass to the stick of a Henley player left the way to goal open and experience showed as he drove into the D and made it 2-0.

A few moments later further poor judgement saw Horsham down to nine men as a rash tackle saw Dan Humphreys sin-binned, followed immediately by Sean Percy for bad language.

With both senior defenders on the naughty step, the third goal was almost inevitable. Isaac’s subbed himself off and a fourth goal ensued but it was as meaningless at Knights-Johnson’s consolation strike for Horsham.

“They scored against the run of play, then we made mistakes and our discipline was poor,” manager Campbell said after the game.

“That said we created more chances than they did – we just have to learn how to convert them.”

The result leaves Horsham two-points adrift at the foot of the table, with just one win and two draws from their 13 games so far this season.

This Saturday Horsham travel to third-placed Old Cranleighans hoping for a change of luck.