A lacklustre display from Littlehampton Town Football Club saw them slip to a home loss to nine-man Horsham YMCA in a seven-goal thriller on Tuesday.
In a remarkable clash, Golds foughtback three times but still ended up losing 4-3 in the Southern Combination League Premier Divsion encounter.
The loss was all the more frustrating for Golds as YM not only saw out the final 20 minutes with nine men, but netted a winner in that time as well.
Sam Scaaf proved to be Golds back-line’s chief tormentor and the impressive forward completed a hat-trick before being substituted late on.
Golds were a goal down inside ten minutes as Alex Gathern sent Phil Johnson clear with the tricky winger cutting back for Schaaf to slam home.
George Gaskin’s side responded well, though, and they were level on 16 minutes. Kevin Burgess was caught in possession by Dan Kempson with the midfielder firing past Mark Fox.
A frantic first half hour was then rounded off with YM taking the lead for a second time.
Schaaf’s effort bounced just in front of Jon Hendrick and beat the Golds stopper.
It was not free-flowing football from Golds but somehow they were level for a second time eight minutes before the break. Burgess was once again at fault as his backpass failed to reach Fox with Gaskin nipping in to gratefully accept the gift.
With four minutes of the first half remaining YM were down to ten men. Ashley Dugdale’s two-footed challenge on Dean Janman saw him receive a straight red.
Despite being a man light, the visitors went ahead for a third time a minute into first half stoppage-time. Dave Brown’s cross was fumbled by Hendrick and Johnson was on hand to tap home at the far post.
The second had a lot to live up up and it didn’t disappoint. Gaskin came within a post of levelling things up on 65 minutes. Fox was quick out of the blocks to beat Hutchings to a loose ball but his clearance went straight to Gaskin, whose side-foot shot from 30 yards struck the woodwork.
Tempers rose once again and YM were reduced to nine with 20 minute left. A reckless lunge from Brown on Gaskin left referee Lukasz Sipior with no choice but to dismiss the winger.
Golds were level for a third time five minutes later after Mitchell Hand saw his shot tipped on to the bar Gaskin was on hand to volley home.
With it all square at 3-3 Golds looked like the only winners.
However, it was not to be and a fine solo run and finish saw Schaaf complete his hat-trick and bag the winner 13 minutes from time.
Golds pushed forward as they went in search of a leveller late on by YM’s defensive wall stood firm to leave Gaskin’s side frustrated at the final whistle.
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