St Francis Rangers lost against 10-men Horsham YMCA on Saturday.
YM started sharply, Luke Gedling seeing his strike from distance tipped onto the crossbar by Rangers’ goalkeeper Rob Gordon, before Nick Sullivan blasted the follow up well over.
But it was the hosts who took the lead two minutes later. James Westlake found space and after his twenty-five yard strike was parried by YM ‘keeper Simon Lockwood, Rickie Peacock was on hand to eventually pick up the pieces and stab home. The equaliser arrived on eighteen minutes when St Francis failed to clear their lines on halfway and Sullivan nipped in front of his man before releasing Curtis, who coolly rolled the ball in off the far post after racing clean through.
St Francis ended the half well, albeit threatening mainly from set pieces. A glancing Stephen Smith header first clipped the outside of the far post, before YM had stopper Lockwood to thank for keeping the scores level, as he pulled off a fine reaction save to deny Josh Bryant’s header from finding the top corner.
YM were then reduced to ten men in added time at the end of the first half when full back Wood was brandished with a straight red card for a lunging tackle that caught St Francis’ Jamie Weston just below the knee. Unlike their dismal display against Loxwood in midweek however, YM showed some true character and resolve after the break to compensate for the disadvantage in personnel.
And four minutes after the restart they were ahead thanks to a superb solo effort from defender Evans. The full back picked the ball up on the left and after marauding past two Rangers’ defenders, cut inside before rifling the ball into the top corner with his unfavoured right foot.
Sullivan made amends for an earlier missed opportunity as after Liam Hunter broke forward and released the striker, he neatly slotted the ball inside the far post to provide the visitors with some breathing space at 3-1.
Rangers continued to press forward however, and after another Westlake free kick ricocheted back off the upright, YM defender Matt Crane clumsily fouled his man inside the box and the referee pointed to the spot.
Weston coolly converted the penalty to offer the home side a lifeline with two minutes of normal time to play, but any chance of a St Francis fight back was then spoiled by YM substitute Smith, who arrowed the ball into the roof of the net to secure all three points in added time.