Tuesday February 3 – Ryman League Division One South
Horsham 2 – 2 Tooting & Mitcham
Following the disastrous home defeat to fellow relegation candidates Redhill this was an improvement against a far better side than the team who had won so convincingly at Gorings Mead three days earlier, but then again it needed to be.
Tooting & Mitcham sit comfortably in the mid table and perhaps the lack of urgency that is generated from not being in relegation or promotion fights should have meant that this was three points that the Hornets should have claimed. However some very strange refereeing decisions went against Horsham in this match at a time they need all the luck and good judgement they can get.
Another new face made it into the starting line-up, 33 year old Irish defender Richie Byrne has previously played in the Scottish FA Cup final for Dunfermline Athletic and in the UEFA Cup for Shamrock Rovers and Aberdeen before now joining a relegation battle at Gorings Mead with Horsham.
In a first half that was just edged in terms of possession by the visitors Horsham had two gilt edged chances. After a good run from McCreadie, Tony Nwachukwu blasted over before the best chance of the half fell to Richie Welch who wasted the opportunity when he should have given his side the lead. The main talking point of the half was when somehow the referee denied the Hornets a blatant penalty after Tom Hughes was clearly fouled well inside the area. The referee, who was only a few yards from the incident, inexplicably adjudged it to be outside the area and gave a free kick.
In the second half Tooting continued to have more of the play with one effort crashing off the bar with Gareth Williams beaten, but it was Horsham who took the lead. A Tom Vickers free kick was superbly met by Bailo Camara whose header gave visiting keeper Luke Badiali no chance and registered Camara’s first goal for the club.
Then in a reverse of his poor decision of the first half the referee decided that a foul against Horsham was inside the area when it was apparent to all it was well outside. Tooting’s Frankie Sawyer gratefully stepped to accept the referee’s gift of the penalty kick which he fired past Williams for the equaliser.
Despite increased pressure from the visitors Horsham kept going and were awarded for their endeavours when they regained the lead through Nwachukwu on seventy nine minutes.
However the turning point came nine minutes later when Nwachukwu collected his second yellow card leaving the Hornets to play the last two minutes of normal time and the seven minutes of added time the referee somehow had deemed warranted.
The visitors laid siege to the Horsham goal and inevitably five minutes into the seven added Tooting & Mitcham’s Stefan Cox grabbed his team’s second equaliser of the night leaving the final score at two each, which on balance of play was probably a fair result.
As the games come thick and fast another mid table side, Chipstead, visit Gorings Mead this weekend (Saturday February 7). With one point from a possible six from the last two games Anthony Storey will be looking to get another winning run going as soon as possible.
Photo – John Lines