Prize scalp brings only a second win but Hurst boss not surprised

It is already February and yet Saturday’s excellent 2-1 home victory against promotion-chasers Barnham was only Hurst’s second league win of the season.

Manager Bill Clifford was clearly delighted but, in truth, not that surprised. “Apart from a couple of bad performances, we’ve been playing well all season but simply not getting the results,” he said. “We went into the game in good heart and I think we just about deserved it against a good side.”

Karl Gumbrell put Hurst in front with a looping header after only five minutes and they appeared to have the edge after that. But Barnham always looked capable of unsettling the home defence, especially through the middle.

The visitors did pull themselves level on 23 minutes with a somewhat soft goal, scored by Sam Enticott, who a few minutes earlier had been denied by the legs of keeper James McKemey.

But Hurst were back in front five minutes later when a great ball over the top by Andy Webster enabled striker Trevor Wilson to take his chance well.

Gumbrell always looked a threat but Matt Noble was equally impressive running at the heart of the home defence and only a post prevented him from giving Barnham the lead.

McKemey then spared the blushes of Sam Packham when he had his pocket felt but Hurst finished the half strongly and pulled two fine saves from Byron Kearns. First he turned over a superb volley by left back Simon Whitney and then was absolutely brilliant in thwarting Dave MacNeil.

In the second half Hurst used all three subs, including new signing, striker Wayne Bashford from the Brighton League Premier Division.

Hurst: McKemey; Kempton, Whitney, Macneil, Blackwell, Peckham, Webster, Boswood (Boutal, 76), Bartram (Bashford, 60), Wilson (Sharp, 71), Gumbrell. Middy Starman: James McKemey, some vital saves, particularly late on.