Horsham YMCA 1 – 1 Lingfield
Martin Read – Sports Reporter
Photo by Tim Hewlett
In a highly entertaining game that included two red cards, a botched penalty and a hatful of near misses at either end, battling YMCA held visiting Lingfield to a draw at Gorings Mead last Saturday, after clawing their way back from being a goal down at half time
The opening minutes belonged to Lingfield and when a dangerous-looking YM back pass was not completely cleared pin ball action out to the left followed, enabling visiting centre forward James Allen to slot home in the fifth minute. In between two Lingfield corners, YM’s Alex Barbary responded, but could only get a weak shot away. YM, though, were coming more into the game but Ben Bacon saw his two strikes blocked and Callum Jeal found the side netting, before his brother Aaron had to rush out to save.
Then, shortly ahead of the midpoint of the first half, came a turning point in the game when Allen was floored in the box and somehow managed to blast the penalty high, wide and ugly. A Lingfield free kick just outside the area came to nothing before four corners were awarded – two for each side – with Allen failing to make contact with a threatening cross, and Sami Bakhit hoofing attempts well off target.
Twelve minutes before the break, Lingfield were reduced to ten men when goalkeeper Daniel Nairne scythed down Brannon O’Neil, newly signed from Three Bridges. The stand in keeper was soon in action, as was Aaron Jeal, tipping the ball over for Lingfield’s fifth corner, YM trailing by the single goal at half time
The second half began with a YM corner and, with no change in the scoreline, subs were introduced, until, with around half an hour still on the clock, YM pressure allowed Barbary to break through to equalise. Lost possession then gave Lingfield an opportunity, but the lob just evaded the top left corner of the goal. With action switching to the other end, Barbary’s close range effort was stopped by the keeper’s lunging feet. The two YM subs caught the eye, with Kyle Sim being sent off with quarter of an hour remaining, and Adrian Todd unleashing a powerful shot just wide of the goal.
A frantic cup tie style ending followed, the ball somehow being kept out with four saves from Jeal and defenders. In a breakaway YM attack, Charlie Maguire couldn’t quite get the ball into an empty goal. Then, just before the final whistle, a mix up at the back gave Lingfield a golden chance, but they, too, spurned the probability, with the game ending one apiece.
YM Coach Lee Maguire was pleased with the outcome, telling us: “It was a bit sticky out there, but we created chances – and so did they. It could have gone either way, but it was good to be unbeaten again and earn another point.”
Saltdean Town head the table, four points clear of AFC Uckfield Town, with YM in the penultimate berth, ahead of East Preston and two points shy of Langney Wanderers.
Before YM travel to Eastbourne Town on Saturday they are in Sussex Senior Cup action on Tuesday, against Haywards Heath, 17th out of 19 in the Isthmian South East Division, with one win from seven starts