Whacko! Six of the best for Horsham – and play offs beckon

Saturday April 6 – The Bostik League – South East Division

Sittingbourne 1 6 Horsham

Martin Read – Sports Reporter
Sittingbourne beat Horsham at Lancing in August, but since then the fortunes
of the two sides have varied considerably – Horsham thrashed the Kent team
at Woodstock Park last Saturday and are second, chasing Cray Wanderers,
with three games remaining and a coveted play off spot up for grabs.
Whereas, the Kent side – who had lost to bottom club Greenwich Borough the
week before – now find themselves in 16 th spot and not yet clear of the threat
of relegation. With a hat trick, involvement in the Hornets’ fourth goal and
denial by the woodwork, Chris Smith was the principle architect of
Sittingbourne’s woes, the much-changed Kent side having no answer to his
speed and ingenuity. The game, though, started quietly with shots from Rob
O’Toole and Dylan Merchant coming to nothing and Sittingbourne not
troubling Horsham’s newly signed keeper from VCD Athletic, Joe Mant,
whose opposite number, Patrick Lee had to be alert to push a Smith rocket
over the bar. Yet it was Sittingbourne who might have opened the scoring mid
way through the first half, but, on the break from a Horsham attack, Lawrence
was off target – a costly miss, because Horsham immediately went ahead, a
good build up enabling Smith to complete from close quarters. Horsham kept
testing the Kentish defence and were rewarded when Jack Brivio headed
home Lee Harding’s cross just before the break.
Early in the second half Horsham went three up, Smith firing a powerful volley
into the upper reaches of the goal, and with Horsham making all the running,
Smith swiftly followed up with a drive just past the upright before Tyrell
Richardson-Brown could not quite latch onto the striker’s supply. However,
more goals were inevitable, O’Toole and Harvey Sparks creating danger, and
Horsham duly went four ahead from an own goal, Allan turning in Smith’s
cross. Smith was soon in action again from the penalty spot after being fouled
by the keeper. He missed a spot kick in the previous game, but this time it
was routine for Smith, his hat trick notching up his 20 th success of the season.
Jack Brivio then compounded the hosts’ misery, nodding in a free kick for his
second. Time was fast evaporating, but Sittingbourne were gifted a goal
courtesy of an un-cleared corner from which substitute Lewins benefited. In
the dying moments a Smith pile-driver crashed into the woodwork, but it
mattered not, the final whistle bringing Horsham’s most sizeable league win
for thirteen years and leaving the Hornets needing just a solitary point to
secure a play off place.
On Saturday the Hornets venture further into east Kent, to Herne Bay (14 th ),
before, on the 20 th , they have their final home game at Lancing against
another Kent side – Faversham (17 th ). Play offs apart, Horsham finish their
league programme with a visit to the Channel Islands to take on 18 th in the
table Guernsey on Easter Monday. Earlier in the season Horsham beat Herne
Bay and Faversham and drew with Guernsey.

Photo courtesy of John Lines

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