Steyning vs. Horsham HERO

Horsham fight back to earn place in Senior Cup Final

Words by Jamie Spoor
Steyning Town Community 1-4 Horsham

It was another cup night to remember for Horsham as they came from behind to book their place in the Sussex Transport Senior Cup Final at the expense of Steyning Town Community.

Dominic Di Paola’s men finally ended the giant-killing run of promotion chasing Steyning, but not before they had been given a significant early scare.

The Barrowmen sit two leagues below their opponents but that was not evident after a fast start from Kevin Green’s side, in which they looked capable of another seismic shock.

The Southern Combination Football League Premier Division title chasers had already slain Burgess Hill Town and Brighton & Hove Albion en route to the semi-final, and looked determined to once again beat the odds.

Having survived the earliest of let-offs when Shamir Fenelon somehow failed to convert a chance it looked easier to score, Steyning didn’t hang around and not long after, found themselves 1-0 up.

Pressing quickly and with intent, they recycled the ball which found its way to Harry Shooman, via Lloyd Francis, and the former held off his marker to finish expertly.

Things went from bad to worse for the Hornets when captain Jack Brivio was forced off with a hamstring injury shortly after his side had fallen behind.

Steyning’s 19-goal top scorer Tom Chalaye then almost capped a neat sweeping move with an equally impressive finish.

Minutes later, Horsham were indebted to their keeper Lewis Carey as he denied the excellent Charlie Meehan twice in quick succession.

Steyning’s goalkeeper Lucas Svendela-Goetzke was called into action after 23 minutes as he reacted superbly to tip over Daniel Ajakaiye’s dipping effort from distance.

Then came ten chaotic and captivating minutes in which the complexion and momentum of the tie was flipped on its head.

Playing in their 18th cup tie of a marathon season, Horsham restored parity on 33 minutes when substitute Lucas Rodrigues saw his initial effort saved by Svendela-Goetzke, only to ram in the rebound when the ball fell kindly to him.

The scorer would then turn provider to find Fenelon who put his side ahead with a clinical back post finish; the culmination of a sweeping move three minutes before the break.

In the midst of the Hornets comeback, Steyning were reduced to ten men when captain Nathan Cooper went the way of his Horsham counterpart by leaving the field early.

This time though, it was a mess of his own making with Fenelon in the thick of things again as his run was halted by the challenge of the Steyning defender. He did so illegally in the eyes of referee Adrian Harris who brandished a second yellow to reduce Town to ten men.

Despite their numerical disadvantage, Steyning remained a threat on the counter and came within inches of a shock response early in the second-half.

A stunning point-blank save by Carey kept out Chalaye and the rebound was cleared to safety off the line by Isaac Philpot.

That proved a major turning point as Horsham put the tie beyond any lingering doubt three minutes later.  

With 56 minutes on the clock, James Hammond’s deflected shot fell kindly to Fenelon, and he made no mistake to slam in his second of the game from close range.

A two-goal deficit would prove too much for Town to recover from as Horsham finally put distance between themselves and their tiring opponents.

The Hornets gave the scoreline a slightly flattering look seven minutes from time when Jack Mazzone - who had earlier gone close - was picked out by fellow substitute Reece Myles-Meekums for the game’s fifth goal.  

And so Horsham go through to the Final, and seek to finally scratch a 48-year itch and lift the Sussex Transport Senior Cup.

Steyning Town Community vs. Horsham YT
Steyning Town Community vs. Horsham - 27-02-24
Highlights from the Sussex Transport Senior Cup Semi-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 (Steyning-Horsham): Goals (1-4), Shots (9-13), Shots on target (4-5), Corners (2-5), Fouls (6-7), Offsides (1-3), Yellow cards (2-1), Red cards (1-0).

Steyning Town Community: Szendela-Goetzka, Da Costa, Cooper, Barnes, Clark, Fuller, Edwards, Francis, Meehan, Shooman, Chalaye.
Subs: Goldson (Francis 60), Rance (Meehan 70), Rondel (Fuller 75), Remfry, Oladokun (Edwards, Clark 85).

Horsham: Carey; Brivio, Philpot, Barker, Harding, Hester-Cook, Hammond, Tuck, Richards, Fenelon, Ajakaiye.
Subs: Santos Rodrigues (Brivio 10), El-Abd, Myles-Meekums (Barker, Hester-Cook 65), Mazzone (Ajakaiye 73), Kavanagh (Tuck 80).

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