Assistant manager Julian Miller called Horsham YMCA’s 2-1 defeat away to Horley Town ‘unfortunate’ and ‘a shame’ as YM dropped down to tenth in the SCFL Premier Division on Saturday.
Former player Alex Barbary opened the scoring against his old club, firing in from close range but Callum Donaghey headed in the visitors’ equaliser in the second half.
But Horley would have the final say with ten minutes remaining when Mario Quiassaca nodded Scott Robson’s free-kick past Aaron Jeal in the YM goal.
The result helped the Clarets maintain their sizzling form with a sixth successive league win as they moved to within five points of second-placed Peacehaven & Telscombe with two games in hand.
Miller said: “It was unfortunate. We did really well in the first half, not so good in the second, and then got done right at the end so it was a shame really.
“We did deserve something out of it because we had two big shouts for penalties that weren’t given. So we could have nicked something but it wasn’t to be.”
The home side dominated early on, creating six chances in the first 15 minutes.
Russell Harvey skimmed the crossbar with a long-range shot, then a careless throw by Jeal was intercepted by Tony Halsey, with the YMCA stopper recovering just in time to save his shot.
Halsey, Reyon Dillon, Alex Barbary and Dale Burgess also all had shots straight at Jeal or just wide.
YM started making an impression with three free kicks inside the Horley half, before a Matt Daniel effort was cleared off the line by Ryan Brackpool.
A run by Johden De Meyer was thwarted by keeper George Hyde, who also jumped to save a header by Tony Nwachukwu.
Dillon had a shot cleared off the line for the hosts and both Burgess and Barbary went close again before Chad Goulter hit the post with a fierce long-range shot.
Horley got their breakthrough just before half-time when the ball ping-ponged around from a corner and was deflected in by Barbary.
The second half was a far more scrappier affair. Ash Dugdale fired narrowly over while there was also a goal-mouth melee when three Horley goal attempts were half-cleared.
Callum Donaghey headed the away side level from a corner in the 65th minute but Horley found their winner 15 minutes later when Robson’s free-kick was prodded home by substitute Quiassaca with his first touch.
YM host two-places-higher AFC Uckfield Town this Saturday. Miller said: “It’s a big game for us. They’ll be big, physical and quick so we’ve just got to be ready for it.”
Horsham YMCA: Jeal, Carden, Clarke (Gedling 60’), Donaghey, Harding, Hunt (Frankland 75’), Lovegrove, Dugdale, De Meyer, Daniel, Nwachukwu. Unused: Evans.