First Team 1 Horsham 2

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Beaten but not disgraced - that was the overriding emotion following this testing Bostik League South East opener at Saturday.

Lee Harding’s 54th minute winner won the game,  but Town responded well to going behind and came mighty close to earning a point.

Mikey Dalton was denied by a diving save from Horsham keeper Josh Pelling, and then Jack Miles headed wide deep into stoppage time.

Town suffered a double injury setback before the game losing both strikers Zac Attwood and Kenny Pogue.

New signing Attwood was struggling with an achilles problem, while Pogue pulled after suffering a recurrence of a groin problem in the warm up.

Micky Collins had to reshuffle things with another new-boy Ryan Fowler handed skate call-up. while latest recruit Alec Figgis was on the bench.

Horsham went close three times in the first quarter hour, before Frankie Sawyer’s impressive strike put Town in front after 19 minutes.

Sawyer followed up his FA Cup treble by making history as Town’s first goalscorer in Step 4,  curling home a 20-yard strike inside Pelling’s far post.

However the lead proved short lived, centre half Joe Shelley heading Horsham level minutes later, diving in at the far post after Town keeper Ben Bridle-Card had kept out Chris Smith’s first effort.

Shelley headed another effort against the bar and Matt Hoare fired over the bar in a testing spell for Micky Collins’ side.

Sawyer flicked another chance wide while Fowler and Billy Bennett had shots blocked.

Harding fired over from eight yards, and Hoare struck the bar again as Horsham led the half-time chance count 12-6.

Town started the second half on the front foot, Sawyers seeing a rasping right foot effort go just over, before Dalton’s downward  header just missed the target two minutes later.

Shelley headed another effort wide, before Horsham went in front nine minutes after the break, Harding converting with a left foot finish inside the near post.

Bridle-Card saved another effort and blocked another on his 18-yard line before 

Town almost conceded a third with 15 minutes left, only for Smith to drag his effort wide from eight yards.

They looked to make the most of that escape, Jake McIntyre and Sam Crabb went close, before Dalton and Miles both missed out in a lively finish.

Miles suffered a head injury early in the game, facing a trip to hospital after the game to have the glued.

The first 90 minutes proved what lies ahead  in the next few months - with another busy weekend to come  -  FA Cup action and a visit from early leaders Hastings. 

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