Horsham YMCA 1 Whitehawk 2
by George Bryant-Nichols
Whitehawk’s U18 side visited Horsham YMCA at Goring’s Mead on a chilly Monday the 1st of November, looking to make amends from a 3-0 loss last time out.
Both sides came out of the blocks well from the very outset, with the Hawks wingers making mazy runs with excellent control of the ball, and the Horsham players packing a punch in their frequent forays forward towards Sam Lomas in the Whitehawk goal.
After a vociferous penalty appeal by the home side, adjudged to not be a foul in the eyes of referee Gordon, a first major chance for either side was put into place by YMCA – with Stanley Berry on target for the hosts, albeit blocked by Hawks ‘keeper Lomas. Not much later, Horsham had the ball in the back of the net, only for the linesman to raise his flag for offside, and the goal to be disallowed.
After 20 minutes of play, the Hawks almost made inroads into the scoreline, with Watson Price palming Jack Duckett’s accurate strike onto the post. Moments later, the Hawks caught Horsham napping and Toby Reeder was through on goal before narrowly missing the target with only the keeper to beat, albeit under pressure from Horsham defenders rushing back towards their own goal.
In the 32nd minute, Horsham broke the deadlock with a calm, collected finish from Lewis Shivnarain, after the ball broke nicely for him in the 18 yard box – and he ran off towards the corner flag to celebrate.
Whitehawk continued to pursue parity in the match, coming close with a shot across goal from Ossie O’Neill, looking for the angle at the back post – unfortunately for the midfield man, his effort found the woodwork rather than the back of the net as intended.
If the lack of clinical finishing up to this point had fazed Whitehawk, it didn’t show, with a fantastic strike from Alex Maclean on the stroke of half time clawing the game back for the young Hawks, after a corner routine was thwarted by the Horsham back line.
The two teams went into the break on equal terms, Whitehawk certainly with their tails up after the manner of their equaliser.
The Hawks came out for the second half with a strong pressing game and Pat Williamson on for Duckett. Putting pressure on Horsham’s defenders to win the ball back, it only took six second half minutes to edge into the lead with a brilliant team goal. Slick passing from the team in blue saw Williamson feed the ball into Reeder, waiting to flick the ball past ‘keeper Price at the near post to make it 2-1. A really well-worked goal, and a great standard of football on show. Certainly a finish for the highlights reel.
The Hawks retained the ball well for much of the next quarter of an hour, with O’Neill’s booking for simulation the only blot in the copy book for a resolute Whitehawk team.
Horsham’s biggest chance for an equaliser presented itself in the form of a long range drive from Berry with 71 minutes gone, which was well saved by Lomas in the Whitehawk goal.
Whitehawk withstood a deal of attacking pressure from YMCA as they threw subs on up front, but managed to close out the game for a first league win of the season.
With victory, Whitehawk rose to 8th in the table with 4 points from six games in the Isthmian Youth South, above Monday’s opponent by a point going into the next run of fixtures. Next, the Hawks host Bognor Regis Town at the Terrapura on Monday 15th of November, looking to make it two wins from two.