Horsham stay second despite upset against rampant Cray

Although there is no shame in being beaten by runaway leaders Cray
Wanderers – they have 22 wins from 28 starts this season, and three more
successes will see them installed as worthy champions, after coming unstuck
in last season’s play offs – Horsham were nevertheless disappointed to end
their seven match undefeated run and come away empty handed, especially
as they beat Cray earlier in the season, inflicting the Kent side’s only league
defeat of this campaign. Unbeaten at their Hayes Lane fortress, Cray have
only conceded three draws there and their home and away scoring aggregate
is 63 goals, with 22 against – both by far the best stats in the Bostik South
East Division. Elsewhere, fellow promotion contenders Hastings and Ashford
United both won, narrowing the gap at the top of the table, but Horsham
remain second, five points clear of Ashford and seven ahead of Hastings,
both of whom have a game in hand. Last Saturday, though, was a difficult day
for the Hornets, an injury restricting Lewis Hyde’s participation and a red card
depriving them of the services of Dan Pearse for half of the second session.
But, they started brightly, Harvey Sparks twice testing Nick Blue in the home
goal, the keeper subsequently thwarting Rob O’Toole’s close quarter attempt,
Hornet keeper Josh Pelling also having to be alert to quell a Ben Mundele
strike. Horsham were giving as good as they got, but Cray took the lead when
a well-built incursion enabled Hudson to slot home. Horsham responded,
earning a corner, O’Toole’s header was safely gathered by Blue, while Pelling
negated a free kick at the other end, Horsham trailing by the single goal at the
The second half started with both sides creating chances, Horsham might
have equalised, Blue again keeping the Hornets at bay. But, Cray kept
pressing and when Joe Shelley challenged Dent the midfielder was floored
with the ref not hesitating to point to the spot, from where Joe Taylor doubled
Cray’s lead. Undaunted, Horsham responded, but Cray’s defence kept them
out before Pearse was dismissed for a too-robust tackle on Frederico. Sparks
and Lee Harding posed danger, but again without success, ahead of Cray’s
chance of a third goal being extinguished by an off side call. Mounting
frustration led to both Harding and Hayward receiving yellow cards as Cray
continued to push, but opportunities came and went for both sides with the
hosts triumphing 2-0.
On Saturday, with seven games remaining, Horsham have a less formidable
encounter, with a visit to bottom club Greenwich Borough, whom they beat
2-0 at Lancing in November. Meanwhile, the Hornets’ long awaited new Hop
Oast ground is looking increasingly like the impressive venue that it will
certainly become. The substantial clubhouse is almost ready for fitting out,
meanwhile, the stands have been installed and the community pitch is
finished. Completion is anticipated in May, and volunteers will be needed to

help run the new ground. If you think you can help then get in touch with Sean
Bravery – 07909 541134 – – he will be very pleased
to hear from you. Progress on developments at Hop Oast can be viewed at

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