Horsham were hit by six by Blackheath & Old Elthamians on Saturday as they came up the prolific Chris Harden.
In most respects this was a very even game of hockey. With the half-time score at 1-1 Horsham thought they were still in the game with a definite chance. They reckoned without the specialist short corner goalscoring Harden.
Last season Harden scored 40 goals from short corners. According to his team mates this term he’s having a bad year – he’s only on 25.
To be fair, Horsham goalkeeper Joe Elgar had an exceptional game between the sticks, keeping out the best Blackheath could throw in open play. But Harden is a goal-scoring machine and last Saturday at Christ’s Hospital he was on fire. Elgar couldn’t keep him out.
Horsham started brilliantly, composed and in control and giving as good as they got from a Blackheath team ten points above them in the league.
Within six minutes they were on the scoreboard, Zak Chinn, set loose by a superb aerial pass from Sean Pearcy, left one-on-one with the Blackheath ‘keeper. Chinn used his lightning pace to draw the goalkeeper, sidestep and push the ball into the net.
Horsham, who started with only 13 players due to injury and illness, as opposed to Blackheath’s full complement of 16, then lost Joey Humphreys to a broken nose.
Despite that they edged possession for the next 27 minutes, playing good probing passing hockey, keeping Blackheath out of their red zone.
It couldn’t last for ever but, when Horsham finally gave away a shot corner four minutes from half-time, nobody quite anticipated the outcome. Up stepped Harden for Blackheath and pinged it past Elgar’s outstretched left hand before he had time to blink.
In the second half, Blackheath seemed to focus their minds on winning short corners. Three more times Harden obliged. In between times, play was even and Horsham had chances. Skipper Rob Turnbull hit the post and Chas Richardson went close, but the Blackheath keeper had a good game.
Towards the end, Horsham tired and Blackheath added two field goals. But by then the game was done and dusted.
After the game manager Al Campbell said: “To be honest Blackheath are really something of a one-trick-pony – but it’s a rather impressive trick.”
Horsham still reside in ninth place and are safe from relegation. They can, however, move eighth if they beat London Academicals, who are currently one point above them, this Saturday.