Horsham YMCA manager Peter Buckland admitted this season has been ‘the hardest since joining YM’ after they received a 5-0 drubbing at unbeaten Premier Division leaders Eastbourne Town on Saturday.
Dan Perry opened the scoring on seven minutes before Jack McLean added a second on 20 minutes. YM’s task against a side who had only conceded three goals in their opening nine matches got even harder when the referee awarded Jack Ryder two yellow cards in six minutes leaving YM to play with ten men for the remainder.
The hosts had a third before half-time thanks to Tom Vickers while McLean completed his brace just moments into the second-half.
George Taggart added a fifth for Eastbourne in the closing stages as YM left the Saffrons empty-handed.
YMCA have endured a tough start to the season, winning just three league games, and Buckland admitted it’s been a struggle.
He said: “It’s been hard work this season, I’ve not enjoyed it. It’s the hardest since I’ve been at YM but I don’t have any concerns about our league form.”
With Eastbourne still yet to be conquered, nine games into the season, Buckland believes Town fully deserve to be where they are.
He added: “They are calibres above everybody and were chasms ahead of us. I knew within five minutes from kick-off that it was going to be a long Saturday afternoon, but it doesn’t help playing them with ten men.”
On Ryder’s dismissal, Buckland said: “The first one is never a booking. He’s standing over the ball, (the referee) calls him back, and then gives him a split-second to get ten yards away before the ball’s kicked against him. It can’t be done.”
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Town got off to a fast start when Aaron Capon crossed from the right-wing into Perry who smashed the ball home and the home side were in full control after 20 minutes when Brad
Pritchard made a strong run down the left before sliding the ball into McLean, who fired a cool finish past Aaron Jeal in the YMCA goal.
YM’s chances of getting back into the game were dealt a blow when Ryder was booked twice in a short period. The first came after he failed to retreat ten yards at a free kick, while a poor tackle moments later earned him the second and the red.
It was three before half-time when Vickers set off on a mazy run past four YMCA defenders before coolly poking the ball past Jeal for a fine effort.
The second half started in lightning fashion when, straight from kick-off, McLean nutmegged YM skipper Dean Carden before striking in a fourth from a narrow angle.
A late Town corner cleared straight to substitute George Taggart saw them grab their fifth after his left-footed thunderbolt gave Jeal no chance.
YM visit Langney Wanderers in the first round of the Sussex Senior Cup this (Tuesday) evening (7.45pm) before they welcome second-placed Lancing to Gorings Mead on Saturday.
Horsham YMCA: A Jeal, Carden, Gibbs, Gilbert, Harding, Gedling, C Jeal, Daniel, Smith, Ryder, Pearse. Subs: Nash, Lovegrove, Lindsey.