Horsham YMCA’s recent return to winning ways was brought to an abrupt halt on Saturday, as they were beaten 5-1 away at seventh-placed Rye United, writes Tom Norris.
But the emphatic score line fails to paint an accurate picture of a game in which the visitors conducted some of the finest football they’ve played all season.
YM dominated large parts of an excellent first period, and Rye had goalkeeper Ollie Jones to thank for keeping them in the fixture, as he produced three excellent saves to deny YM striker Martin Smith.
And completely against the run of play the hosts then dealt YM the cruellest of blows, as Sam Adams handed Rye the lead from the penalty spot, right on the stroke of half time.
And within ten minutes of the restart Rye had extended their lead, Matt Maclean firing home to make it 2-0.
YM top scorer Smith then halved the deficit two minutes later, but the visitors were dealt a second killer blow of the game shortly after when full backs Mike Gardner and Adam O’Carroll were forced from the field through injury.
And in the wake of the defensive shake up, three further Rye goals followed in a catastrophic eight minutes, as the Quarterboys ensured there’d be no third win on the bounce for YM.
YM boss Peter Buckland said: “I’m very, very frustrated – it was such a bizarre game. I went down there with a changed formation, and for 45 minutes it was the best football we’ve played all season. We were absolutely superb.
“If I were to say that we lost the game 5-1 and their ‘keeper was man of the match it would sound bizarre, but that’s how it was. He pulled off three worldies in the first half from Martin Smith, one of which he tipped over the bar that I will never know how he got to.
“And then in stoppage time at the end of the first half the referee was suckered by one of their forwards. He was tripped on the edge of the eighteen yard box, but then dived like a swan into the area. The foul was definitely outside the box, so it was a very dubious penalty.”