A late Dean Cox strike helped Horsham YMCA progress into the semi finals of the Sussex Senior Challenge Cup, as they beat Conference South side Whitehawk 1-0 at Gorings Mead on Tuesday evening.
The hosts rode their luck at times and had goalkeeper Sam Smith to thank for several smart saves, before substitute Cox’s 84th minute strike stole the show and puts Peter Buckland’s side just ninety minutes away from a final at Brighton’s Amex Stadium.
A jubilant Buckland commented: “Everybody did their job perfectly. We rode our luck a couple of times, but I said that if we could get to the turnaround at 0-0, they would not be able to keep the pace up for ninety minutes.”
Whitehawk hassled and hurried YM, who took a while to settle, but both sides were restricted to efforts from range in the opening half. The Hawks flew out of the traps after the restart and YM were forced to endure a nerve-jangling opening twenty minutes, during which goalkeeper Smith pulled off three superb saves. YM were then turned down a clear cut penalty, before Cox side footed home the winner with only six minutes remaining.
Buckland added: “Dean [Cox] has been out on loan, and I’ve just told him to keep himself fit as we never know when we might need him. We also have to be grateful to Sam [Smith] for one worldy save and a couple of other good ones.”
YM join Peacehaven & Telscombe and Bognor Regis Town in the last four, whilst the remaining semi-final spot will be decided when Burgess Hill Town host Worthing on March 13. Buckland concluded: “Whitehawk were the highest ranked team left in the competition, so what have we got to fear? We just need to go on and play with that same passion and desire that we showed tonight.”
Report by Tom Norris
Photo by Clive Turner