Youth Football –
A superb goal by Jake Legrange was not enough for Horsham U18, as Burgess Hill U18 recovered to knock them out of the FA Youth Cup.
The sharpshooter opened the scoring after 13 minutes, wrongfooting a defender with a perfect first touch before unleashing a sweetly-struck 15-yard shot which fizzed low past Elliott Taylor’s right hand.
After more than 80 goals in two seasons for Horsham and Royal United teams, it was the sort of clinical finish which could see Legrange pressing for a call-up to the Hornets’ first-team squad this season.
He would be following in the footsteps of U18 team-mates Harry Smith and Jamie Ampleford, who are already part of Simon Colbran’s revolution at Gorings Mead.
It was Ampleford who created the goal, turning on halfway before outpacing defenders with a strong run and picking out Legrange with a pinpoint pass from the right.
Sadly for the young Hornets, that was as good as it got in this tough preliminary round tie at Three Bridges, as the Hillians hit back just two minutes later. After making two decent saves, Jonny Burfiend was beaten by the majestic Curtis Gayler’s long-range effort which went in off a post.
At the other end, Taylor held Smith’s 25-yarder after good work by Legrange. The impressive Ben Collier’s clever chip allowed George Hole to make a nuisance of himself in the area, but Ampleford shot over under pressure from a defender.
Horsham fell behind six minutes from half time when Luke Donaldson finished emphatically, but Ivan Raby’s side should have gone into the break on level terms. Taylor parried Zach Haulkham’s shot to Ampleford, whose shot crashed back off the woodwork.
Burfiend was beaten again by Gayler’s looping free kick from 35 yards three minutes into the second half and Greg Leur’s smart lob five minutes later.
The quick double strike seemed to take some of the stuffing out of Horsham and the Hillians went on to hit the woodwork three times.