Horsham 0 0 Ashford United  

Saturday March 23 – The Bostik League – South East Division

Martin Read – Sports Reporter

The combatants negated each other in this top of the table clash at Lancing
last Saturday. With the two teams cheek by jowl in pursuance of a coveted
playoff place, understandably neither wished to concede advantage, and as a
result of the goal-less draw Horsham with 59 points drop one place to third, on
level pegging with new runner up, Hastings United, by dint of a three goal
difference after the East Sussex side despatched Three Bridges. Cray
Wanderers remain runaway leaders, while Ashford United are now fourth, one
point behind Horsham. Haywards Heath are fifth on 56, both Ashford and
Heath having a game in hand. Although with a chequered history of decline
and re-launches, Ashford is a very long-standing, historic club with a proud
record in the FA Cup, ex England Manager Roy Hodgson being one of their
famous past players, but, at Culver Road they were eyeing the future, albeit
cannily keeping Horsham at bay, especially as the Hornets had beaten them
3-2 with a last gasp goal at The Homelands in November.
Ashford began positively, pushing forward with their prolific scorer Danny
Parish drawing an early reaction save from Josh Pelling, the ball taking some
time to clear, following which Harvey Sparks had to be alert to stop a further
incursion. With Horsham struggling to get into the game, Ashford kept probing
until, with almost 30 minutes gone, Chris Smith created an opportunity, but
Rob O’Toole’s strike was safely gathered by Sam Mott in the Ashford goal.
Skipper Sam Corne, Ashford’s other high-scoring danger man, then tested
Pelling just before the half time whistle, neither side having broken the
in changed formation Horsham looked more challenging after the break, soon
appearing to have gone ahead, Chris Smith finishing off the rebound from Lee
Harding’s volley, only for the goal to be disallowed, adjudged offside. Smith
subsequently got through to try a tight-angled shot, but Mott was not unduly
troubled. Horsham then earned a corner, but Shelley headed over, ending the
Hornets’ scoring hopes. The second half had been far quieter for
Ashford, however, they did have a late possibility, but Pelling calmly
completed a routine block, the game ending goal-less.
With five games remaining, including long trips to 16 th placed Herne Bay and
Guernsey, who hover just above bottom club Greenwich Borough, Horsham
play their penultimate game at their temporary Lancing home on Saturday –
against mid table Sevenoaks Town, whom they beat 2-1 at Greatness Park
back in August. Meanwhile, the club are delighted with progress at their
excellent new Hop Oast ground – with the artificial pitch laid, the stands up

and the substantial clubhouse substantially complete, the long awaited new
facility really is going to be something to celebrate, especially if it goes hand in
hand with Horsham’s promotion, crowning a superb achievement for the Hornets.

Image courtesy of John Lines

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