Horsham YMCA forced an FA Cup replay with Ryman League Division 1 South side Redhill on Saturday, after their Preliminary Round tie ended in a goalless draw at Kiln Brow.
The hosts created several clear cut chances during the first half, before YM enjoyed the lion’s share of opportunities on goal in the second period, although neither side could break the deadlock and the two teams will meet again at Gorings Mead on Wednesday evening.
YM manager Peter Buckland commented: “It was a fair result. We didn’t look out of place playing away to a Ryman League team, and if anything I thought that we were more productive.
“We’ve had a bad stomach virus through the club this week. There were four players out there today who until yesterday were on the toilet twenty four seven, and you could tell that they were tired.
“But I felt that we controlled the game in parts a bit more and used the ball better than they did. I don’t know whether it’s their club philosophy to play long ball, but it seemed to be that their best way forward was from back to front as quickly as possible in the air.”
Dave Brown, Liam Hunter and brothers Dan and Nick Sullivan were the four players suffering with the stomach virus during the week, but all four were deemed fit to start, whilst Ash Dugdale continued at centre back and youngster Josh Brown made his second start in as many games.
Goalkeeper Simon Lockwood was called into action after just thirty-eight seconds of the first half when Reds’ forward Tre Mitford latched onto a ball that the YM defence failed to deal with, but he could only fire at a good height for the stopper to smartly save.
Buckland’s side responded well and went just as close to scoring ninety seconds later when Nick Sullivan was released free inside the left edge of the penalty area, but sliced his shot wide of the far post.
Luke Gedling also carved wide of the target for YM after he was teed up on the edge of the area moments later, before Sullivan wasted another good chance to open the scoring mid way through the half.
The YM striker was brilliantly released down the left by Josh Brown and after beating his man he saw his low shot saved by former Horsham ‘keeper Michael Hunter in the Redhill goal, before the rebound then fell to Dave Brown on the edge of the area, but his drilled strike was blocked full stretch on the line by a Reds defender.
The home side had received a much needed wakeup call and they quickly began to dominate the chances before half time.
A long free kick forward was held up by front man Tyrone Pink and then laid off to Mitford whose shot was blocked, before the resulting corner was headed over by 6ft 8inch defender Jordon Anderson.
A minute later another Redhill corner into the box this time found an unmarked Joe Bingham, but his powerful header was well matched by YM ‘keeper Lockwood, who parried to safety with a smart reaction stop.
Two huge chances then came and went for the Lobsters shortly before the break. YM skipper Dugdale was dispossessed in his own half and after the ball failed to be cleared as it reached the six yard box, Pink again teed up Mitford who blazed over the crossbar from twelve yards.
Pink was once more involved in the second opportunity, this time taking advantage of YM defender Matt Crane’s misjudged header, before racing through and unselfishly squaring for Chris O’Flaherty, who somehow fired over with an open goal gaping.
The second period was a quieter affair with fewer chances, although the best of those that did arise fell to the visitors, who grew in confidence as the half wore on.
Hunter curled a tame free kick straight at his namesake in the Redhill goal, before substitute Farzad Bidgood, who has recently joined YM from Broadbridge Heath, cut in from the left and fired a sharp shot at goal that was well saved at the near post.
Nick Sullivan could have broken the deadlock with twelve minutes left when his low shot was saved one-on-one, and then should have broken it with an even better chance four minutes later, as after brother Dan’s clipped pass released him free inside the box, his effort shaved the outside of the post.
The ball did finally find the net in added time when a misjudged YM clearance bounced on the goal line and then up into the net, but referee Peter Killip adjudged Redhill’s Gavin Gordon to have fouled ‘keeper Lockwood and the goal was disallowed.
YM manager Peter Buckland concluded: “I’m happy that we got something out of the game today in so much as a replay and I’ve got to say that I’m confident that at home midweek we can finish the business off, especially with everyone fully fit and firing on all cylinders.”