Heading towards the winter and colder months means less midweek football to choose from and pretty much only cup competitions being the way forward. Of course those who’ve enjoyed good cup runs so far are the one’s still able to hand out a Tuesday or Wednesday night fix for those of us who need it!
Horsham are one such team who’ve enjoyed a decent FA Cup run this season, all the way to the First Round Proper where a long trip north sent them to League Two strugglers Carlisle Utd but the dream ended there at Brunton Park with a 2-0 defeat.
At the same time that Saturday afternoon results in the Pitching In Isthmian League Premier Division dropped the Hornets to the bottom of the table with only one win to their name. Since that defeat, Horsham have won four on the bounce to move away from the lower reaches and now looking upwards.
Entertaining a Wingate & Finchley side who were only a couple of places difference in the table at the start of play gave the Hornets a good chance to add to their unbeaten run while the visitors arrived at the Camping World Stadium without a win in their last six games.
On a mild night compared with the cold, wind and rain over previous days and given the contrasting form of the two sides it was no surprise to see the home side take the early initiative.
The Hornets had the best of the early chances, Lucas Rodrigues had the best of them in the opening 15 minutes. Firstly, a long kick from keeper Sam Howes put the striker in on goal but saw his effort saved by Ben Goode. Moments later the same player was clean through again but dragged his effort wide of the far post.
Chances continued to come the home side’s way throughout the half but the deadlock was still to be broken and you wondered if it was going to be one of those nights where all the play goes one way and the other side nick a goal or two against the run of play.
But those fears were allayed eight minutes before half time, Rob O’Toole played in Rodrigues whose shot was saved, O’Toole making no mistake when the ball landed at his feet and the home side were finally in front.
Two minutes later, the Hornets had the chance to extend the lead when they were awarded a penalty, but Tom Kavanagh’s spot kick was easily saved by Goode. Rodrigues then hit the post soon after as the Hornets pressed again but had to settle for a single goal lead when on chances created they could have been four or five in front by the interval.
The half time team talk for Horsham must have been something along the lines of ‘keep creating chances and goals will come,’ but despite most of the attacking play coming from the home side, there was a lack of end product and as we all know too well, a one goal lead isn’t always enough.
The second goal did eventually come with twenty minutes to play, Lee Harding deftly lifting the ball over Goode when it looked as if the ball had run away from him and put the home side in sight of another three points.
It could and should have been more as substitute Charlie Hester-Cook smashed an effort against the bar and the post was also hit once again but the home side were unable to add to the two goals they had already scored.
The visitors finished the game with ten men after Dexter Peter picked up a second yellow card three minutes from time to cap a miserable night for Wingate and a long journey back to North London without anything to show for the night’s work.
Horsham march on with a fifth consecutive win on the bounce and are now nine points off the play-offs which is a far cry from a few week’s previous, credit to both the management team and the players for turning the season around after a wretched start.