Football Management & Technology

Hornets youngsters enjoy big opening day win


Horsham’s youngsters got their respective 2022/23 campaigns up and running at the weekend, with three victories, a defeat, and a postponement!

Leading the way was our U14s, who enjoying a thumping opening day win at the expense of Seagulls FC at Lancing College. With the squad beset with injuries, coaches Graham and Jason were able to muster eleven players and a substitute to kick-off the season. Conditions were perfect and the pitch was very good (albeit rather small).

Any initial concerns were unfounded as Horsham took control of the game from the beginning to the end of the match. Playing with three solid centre backs, Seagulls were never really able to trouble Horsham, who had numbers in midfield throughout. Soon the home side were finding themselves both out-muscled and out-played.

The scoring was opened after just six minutes, through H Grubb’s cross-come-shot from the right. Two minutes later J Pateman’s harrying of the defense paid dividends as he found his way through from the right to score. After a previous shot from distance was saved, G Devlin hit a ball low from range to find the net off the inside of the post.

Horsham were 3-0 up after fifteen minutes and the Seagulls looked shaken. When the hosts did break, they failed to push up as a team, so when their attack failed Horsham were able to counter with their players already deep inside the Seagulls’ half. Just before half-time C West beat two players on the left and slotted the ball easily past the goalie to make it 4-0.

The second half continued in the same form, with the Hornets pressing well and finding passes with a tidy short game. After seven minutes Pateman finished neatly with the outside of his foot before completing his hat-trick from an outstanding through-ball from F Denyssen. By this time the home side were barely able to leave their own half, before T Jacobs scored after a deflection from a corner.

The Seagulls were finally able to get a goal back from a precisely-taken free-kick, but it was a consolation only as they were completely outplayed throughout. Finally, just before the final whistle, M Plinston took his chance to score, the left-footer deservedly capping his outstanding performance in midfield.

Our U11s got off to a winning start with success in their Development League match with Eastbourne United while the U12s were another to make the most of home comforts as they saw off Haywards Heath Town 4-1 in which W.Dexter and C.Sharpe made their competitive debuts after signing for the Hornets earlier in the summer. Both sides started the game with pace and energy and it became clear early on that it was going to be a fantastic contest. Horsham threatened right from the start but an unfazed Haywards Heath launched a dangerous counter of their own to which Horsham needed to be alert. Heath continued to be aggressive in the early stages but an accurate free-kick from N Edwards fed in Dexter who fired narrowly wide. Horsham began to up the tempo, forcing the Heath ‘keeper to make a good save from Dexter before J Blastock hit a post.

The determination soon paid off, as Horsham took the lead after 22 minutes with Sharpe scoring a confident strike from outside the box. A now more settled, and confident, Horsham made it 2-0 shortly afterwards when W. Du Vergier, assisted by J. Millard, hit a superb strike. Horsham weren’t done for the half and Du Vergier became provider as he laid on J Scarborough for another splendid strike shortly before the half-time whistle.

S Jacques made way for L Harrison at the break with J Wickedean replacing J Birch between the posts and Horsham continued to look confident but weren’t to have it all their own way as Haywards Heath’s resilience paid off when their number 11 grabbed a goal back. Horsham responded quickly, a counter-attack leading to another composed goal from Du Vergier. The Hornets continued to dominate with several attacks right up to the final whistle and manager Dan Edwards reflected afterwards, saying ‘It was a great start to the season, dominating the game from start to finish. A very good team performance with Blastock MotM at right-back, dangerous in attack and solid in defense.’

A solitary goal by E Bengough-Drake was sufficient for Bognor Regis Town to make partial amends for the first team’s defeat last Monday at the expense of our U15s. Craig Brewster’s squad put in a very good performance, having a goal chalked off for offside in the first half, and were dominant in possession in the second, only failing to score due to a combination of hitting a post, poor finishing and brilliant goalkeeping by the visiting ‘keeper. Conceding the only goal of the game on 65 minutes made the result a disappointing one but the effort, and application, demonstrated was excellent and bodes well for the future.

There was a different kind of disappointment for our U18s, who were left without a match after opponents Withdean were unable to raise a side.

Our U13s get their season underway next Sunday.

Results summary:

U11s v Eastbourne United (h) W
U12s v Haywards Heath Town (h)  W 4-1
U14s v Seagulls (a) W 8-1
U15s v Bognor Regis Town Green (h) L 0-1
U18s v Withdean – postponed


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