Hockey, by Martin Read –
Having played only one league game in the last two months and with the weather hampering practice, Horsham’s men were unsurprisingly ring rusty.
But they completed a satisfying 5-3 win against Worthing to remain five points clear at the top of the table, with easily the most impressive goal difference.
Still without long-term injury victims James Chesterton and Ian Brown, Horsham were soon a goal behind before John Kimberley equalised with an excellent 20th-minute strike.
Pinpoint passing, probing build-ups and long and short corners all failed to deliver another goal for Horsham and the visitors struck again from a free kick after 32 minutes.
Within a minute, a strident Horsham attack put Worthing under pressure and Jack Dean equalised from a short corner.
Another clean hit from Kimberley gave Horsham a 3-2 lead just before half time, but this proved short-lived as Worthing levelled immediately after the resumption – only the second time this season that Horsham had conceded three goals in a game.
Ed Heathcock pulled off a superb save from a prostrate position, but Horsham piled on the pressure for 20 minutes and put the opposition under the cosh with a battery of short corners.
A breakthrough always appeared likely and it eventually came after a goalmouth melee, the ball falling to John Burroughs who backhand smashed it into the net.
Burroughs scored again two minutes later, his 19th of the season completing Horsham’s second win of the campaign against their West Sussex rivals.
Team manager Al Campbell told The District Post: “We were the better side, as demonstrated by our 11 short corners. We might have worked those routines better, but it was difficult to pick up the pre-Christmas momentum after the interruptions we’ve had.”
Heathcock said: “It’s been great to get back on the pitch after the layoffs. Teams come at us hard as everyone wants to topple us. It was a tough game but a fair scoreline.”
Kimberley, who will be 17 on Monday, said: “We weren’t at our best and they played well, but it was great to win and I was happy to get on the scoresheet.”
Horsham Ladies went 1-0 down against the run of play seven minutes from time against Old Loughtonians.
But Horsham then put the visitors to the sword with four short corners, culminating in Jess Dean’s equaliser with the last hit of the match.
Captain Emma Whipps said: “Justice was done at the death. It was a hard-fought game with the correct outcome.”
On Saturday, Horsham’s men visit eighth-placed Kings and Alleyns, who they beat 3-0 earlier this season, while the ladies entertain St Albans (1.30pm).
Pick up your free copy of The District Post on Friday for Clare Turnbull’s photos from the Worthing game.