Horsham YMCA vs. East Grinstead Town

Horsham fight back to take Under-23s Cup

Words by Girvane Bila
Horsham YMCA 3-2 East Grinstead Town

Horsham YMCA were crowned Sussex Under-23s Challenge Cup winners last night, after they produced a remarkable second-half performance to come back from a half-time deficit to beat East Grinstead Town at Culver Road.

East Grinstead’s Harvey Burgess delivered a first-half masterclass with a brace, but Luke Harrison scored a penalty to level the game before Zac Massey scored directly from a corner to complete the dramatic turnaround and deliver YM their second Sussex Under-23s Challenge Cup.

Andrew Willis’ side started the quicker, with Burgess scoring a penalty after Ben Harrison fouled Bradley Campbell-Francis inside the area after 14 minutes. 

But just two minutes later, a back pass from Alfie Kent-Mock was misjudged by goalkeeper Ollie Cash, resulting in the ball ending up in his own net. 

It was all East Grinstead despite the own goal. Wingers Campbell-Francis and Darmando Lawrence were key in attacks throughout the first-half. 

In the 24th minute, Lawrence had a chance to cap off a great half with a goal when he fired from the edge of the box only for Horsham keeper Mark Fox to produce a fine save.

Nine minutes later and it was Burgess once again bursting through Horsham’s high line. A clever ball saw him with no defender around him and he showed great composure, rounding past Fox before slotting it into an empty net. 

He could have had a first-half hat-trick after Zack Lamont found him with a lovely cutback, but Burgess fired it over the bar. 

East Grinstead outclassed Horsham in the first-half but they had one goal. Though an own goal, it gave them hope. 

In the second-half, Graham Shergold’s men showed much greater tenacity than they did in the first.

Five minutes into the second half, Tom Hearn failed to capitalise on another shaky moment from Cash after hitting wide from close range. But in the 54th minute, the referee awarded the second penalty of the game after Nathan Kanga needlessly fouled Shivnarain. 

Harrison’s penalty was a successful one, hitting the top right corner. The momentum had well and truly swung Horsham’s way.

Indeed, just over 10 minutes later, they had the lead, thanks to captain Zac Massey, who’s corner was swung in with such bend, that it deceived all in the box, including Cash in the Grinstead goal, who was unable to prevent it crossing the line.

The Wasps weren’t beaten yet though. Their best chance came via a flick on from a corner which saw Danny Carmo clip the crossbar - but The YM held out and a fantastic second-half saw them emerge as winners. 

Horsham YMCA manager Shergold could not have been prouder of his players, particularly their mentality when they seemed lost at half-time.

“Heads were down at half-time,” he said, “all the players came in and I said to them get your heads up. 

“We are not out of this game. Yes, we gave away that penalty, but you’ve still got to get involved in it lads.

“Get your heads up, get smiling. In the changing room, we talked to one another, and we all laugh and joke. I really wanted to stress to the lads that we weren’t out of the game, and that if we got that belief back, it was there for the taking for us.”

Shergold also spoke admirably about the YM fans. He added: “It is good to see. After the game, getting the trophy and all the parents clapping and wanting photos of their kids with the cup, it is just great to see!”

Horsham YMCA vs. East Grinstead Town
Horsham YMCA vs. East Grinstead Town - 20-04-23
Highlights of the Sussex Under-23s Challenge Trophy Cup Final powered by Your Instant Replay.

(Video highlights are available above and on YouTube - courtesy of Your Instant Replay)

(A selection of photographs can be found on Facebook - courtesy of Simon Roe Photography)

Stats: (Horsham YMCA-East Grinstead Town): Goals (3-2); Shots (10-8); Shots on target (4-4); Offsides (2-4); Corners (5-4); Fouls (9-11); Yellow Cards (3-1); Red Cards (0-0)

Horsham YMCA: Fox, Brown, B. Harrison, L. Harrison, O’Connor, Mann, Bignell, Hearn, Shivnarain, Roberts, Massey.
Subs: Barozzi, Shergold, Calverley, White, Henderson.

East Grinstead Town: Cash, Lamont, Kanga, Araba, Akabuogu, Motobaluti, Lawrence, Carmo, Burgess, Kent-Mock, Campbell-Francis.
Subs: Radocevic, Cascoe-Rogers, Buchanan, Inga, Dilloway.

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