Horsham moved back up to second in Division 2 of the South Premier thanks to Jack Dean’s quick-fire hat-trick.
Travelling north of the Thames has not been a happy hunting ground for Horsham in past seasons, but a comprehensive victory over Oxford Hawks 2nd resets the balance on what turned out to be an excellent weekend for Duncan Howarth’s team.
Dean is on fire in front of goal and his 20-minute treble on a bouncy pitch in gale force conditions will deservedly win him the headlines.
However, this was a great squad performance from a team missing four of the players who trounced Winchester the previous week.
Freddie Campbell led the side in Howarth’s absence following arthroscopy. With Dom Male out due to a broken finger, and two senior players unavailable, Mark Bryan, Chas Richardson and 16-year-old Sean Watson stepped up from the seconds and proved able deputies.
Horsham had the best of the exchanges but took time getting used to pitch and conditions and it was 0-0 at half time.
Hawks opened the scoring when their drag-flicker, currently heading the league scoring stats, pinged an unstoppable short corner past an otherwise faultless Andy Isaacs.
Dean levelled within five minutes with a reverse stick shot, followed-up by picking the scraps out of a fumbled Cirdec Atkinson short corner, then sealed the result with a back post tap-in from a Richardson pass.
He is now second in the league stats with 10 goals in 10 games.
Elsewhere, Eastbourne took all three points against Tulse Hill and London Edwardians drew with Winchester allowing Horsham to jump two positions to second.
Manager Al Campbell was delighted with the result and said: “With an unbeaten run of five games and 13 points from a possible 15 our league destiny is now back in our own hands.”
In their final game before Christmas, Horsham entertain strugglers Purley on Saturday.
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