Is this to be the last Saturday blog of the season? Fingers crossed it’s only the four weeks we have to suffer and we get back to football soon, not that it’ll stop me until Thursday!
The last game before the March lockdown was full of rain, a complete performance from Barnet at Woking and for a while it looked as if the rain was going to be a big factor once again after a morning deluge in West Sussex and with that in mind it was a first trip to the new Horsham Camping World sponsored stadium.
This one was on my list to get to last season and of course the early finish put paid to that! But no such issues this time around thankfully and with an FA Trophy tie against Welwyn Garden City the possibility of an upset and/or penalties.
The ground itself was pretty decent for a new build, lots have a ‘lack of atmosphere and character’ levelled at them, soulless and something that doesn’t fit in for your average fan, but I was pretty impressed with how this one looked.
Very helpful stewards on the way in set the tone for a pleasant visit, first impressions as a new visitor can make all the difference. Once inside space was never an issue, lots of room and easily capable of hosting 600 people socially distanced, 473 made it in to watch.
The Hornets have had a steady start to their league campaign which is about to be put on hold for four weeks, and hosting a side one step below, they were hoping for a comfortable passage into the next round.
The visitors made the early running and almost took the lead inside ten minutes hitting the post from a free kick which Horsham keeper Brad House was expecting to go wide of the mark.
Horsham though tried to settle into their stride but found it hard to find some sort of penetration through an organised City side but they did eventually find a way through, Chris Smith with a fine finish to give the home side the lead on 18 minutes.
The home side were getting a majority of their attacks going down the right hand flank through former Barnet wing back Tom Day but the City rear-guard dealt with most balls into the box leaving the home side to lead by just a single goal at half time, pretty much a lack of rhythm going forward.
City came out in the second half not in awe of their opponents and looked more likely to give Horsham more of a game for the final 45 minutes, substitute George Ironton forcing a great save out of House on the hour mark.
The visitors however did equalise on 68 minutes when Ironton pulled the ball back onto his right foot and fired it into the top corner. Fellow substitute Jordan Kinoshi almost embarrassed House when he robbed the keeper of the ball and almost put the visitors in front on 72 minutes.
Hornets substitute Aaron Hopkinson thought he’d won the tie for the home side six minutes later having looped the ball over the visiting keeper only for it to bounce off the inside of the post and cleared to safety.
Despite some strong Horsham pressure over the final ten minutes, they couldn’t make the breakthrough and off we went to penalties!
Welwyn dispatched all five into the net whilst Hopkinson saw his penalty saved as the visitors moved into the next round of the Trophy, Horsham left to reflect on a lack of clinical moments in front of goal to be able to put the tie to bed.
With any luck I should get to two more games before the shutters come down, and then it’s back to compiling a blog list to get everyone through another lockdown…………