Horsham have the edge over East Preston to win Under-21s Cup
Horsham YMCA earnt the honour of being the first team to have their name engraved onto the new Sussex Under-21s Challenge Cup after an entertaining 5-2 victory against East Preston.
Horsham had the better of their opponents for the majority of the game, despite East Preston opening the scoring first after nineteen minutes of play.
Jake Heryet delivered a brilliant low cross which found its way past Horsham’s backline and into the path of Luke Brodie who slotted past goalkeeper Mark Fox.
Following the goal East Preston began to build momentum and almost doubled their lead when Brodie drove forward at pace but was met by Fox who was fearless to ensure the striker did not score his second.
In the latter stages of the first-half Horsham upped their game and began to trouble the East Preston’s defence.
In the thirty-ninth minute that pressure paid off as Horsham drew level after Aflie Jones’ effort bounced off the crossbar and George Hole came swooping in to poke the ball in.
Moments later Jones gave Horsham the lead as he guided the ball with his head into the bottom right-hand corner, keeper Ben Purkis did manage to get his finger tips to the effort but it proved too powerful for him to keep out.
At this point East Preston looked stunned and were struggling to hold on until the half-time whistle.
Horsham who were brimming with confidence pulled further ahead when Brad Curtis crossed a superb ball to Hole, who was unmarked, and he killed the ball dead in front of him and his left footed low drive gave Purkis no chance in between the sticks.
After the restart East Preston came out looking to get back into the game and twelve minutes into the second period managed to decrease their opponent’s tow goal cushion.
Jake Heryet found space and riffled a rasping shot from the right-hand flank that crept under Fox and in.
Horsham began to build momentum again and ten minutes later they dashed East Preston’s restored hope.
Purkis rushed out of his goal but Bradley Ross kept his composure to dribble past the advancing goalkeeper and slot the ball into the unguarded net.
With seven minutes to go Horsham added further gloss to the victory after some clever play between Jack Ryder and Jake Meli.
Ryder twisted and turned from his marker in the eighteen-yard-box and slipped a neat pass through to Meli who opened up his body and struck powerfully past the diving goalkeeper into the corner.
(A selection of photographs can be found on Facebook - courtesy of Simon Roe Photography)
(Video highlights are available above and also on YouTube - courtesy of FilmMyMatch)
Stats: (Horsham YMCA-East Preston)
Goals: 5-2; Shots: 14-5; Shots-on-target: 10-2; Corners: 5-1; Offside: 0-2; Fouls: 10-14; Yellow cards: 2-1; Red cards: 0-0.
Horsham YMCA: Fox, Frankland, Hooper-Ridsdale, Jeal ©, Bennett, Jones, Ryder, Curtis, Roos, Pearse, Hole.
Subs: Meli, Rapson, Daramola-Martin, Gibbs, Gibson.
East Preston: Purkis, Thorpe, Worne, Gilbertson ©, Searle, Beaney, Heryet, Laughlin, Brodie, Huet, Matthews.
Subs: Slaughter, Sibthorpe, Bird, Witten.
Match report by Natalie Clarke