Horsham YMCA boss Peter Buckland was left frustrated by his side’s 4-0 Peter Bentley Challenge Cup loss against league champions Haywards Heath Town but is champing at the bit for next season to begin.
The cup final loss compounds a frustrating season for YM after they saw a promotion push to the Bostik League South Division fade away in the run-in.
Buckland felt his side performed better than the scoreline suggested, and that his squad was hampered by both injuries and cup-tied players.
He said: “I didn’t think it was a 4-0 loss. We had quite a few injuries leading up to this, I’m not going to hide behind that, but there were two or three players who shouldn’t have been out there.
“You could see that their knees were strapped and then to cap it all off Guy Harding gets a red card in our last league game so missed today.Two good players were cup-tied, Ollie Moore and Luke Donaldson, but I guess they had cup-tied players as well.”
YM conceded two goals in a frantic first 15 minutes and had to make early subs to stop a rampant Heath. Buckland felt that his side’s defensive frailties were easily exposed due to injuries but also believed that Heath’s opening spell won them the game.
He added: “We started off with a 3-5-2 and we got exposed at the back early. It was a car crash so we switched to four at the back and after a quarter of an hour we got a foothold in the game.
“Fair play to Haywards Heath. There was an urgency in their play in the first 20 minutes that we didn’t have. No game of football is won or lost in the first 20 minutes but I tell you what you can really put a marker down. They put a marker down and they left it there.
“Good luck to Shaun (Saunders, Haywards Heath manager), he’s a nice guy. I’ve got no qualms about losing to him. It’s a good double for them.”
After missing out on promotion, Buckland is already looking forward to next season. While keeping faith in his squad, he feels that a couple of signings will boost them.
Buckland said: “I know I’ve got a good bunch of lads when they’re all together. I just said to them ‘I’m a family man and you’re just an extension of my family’. We will be staying together and we will regroup in the summer. There will be a couple of additions so I’m not so exposed when there are injuries.
“I’ll take a month out, the players a little longer, and I’ll start preparations for next season. I can’t wait for it to start again next year. Trust me, YM will be knocking on the door next year.”
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