Ten-man Horsham suffer opening-day defeat to South Park

Horsham winger Billy Dunn
Horsham winger Billy Dunn
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Ten-man Horsham suffered an opening-day defeat as they kicked off their Ryman League South Division campaign with a 2-0 reverse to South Park.

The turning point in the game was a straight red card to debutant Max Miller for what was deemed foul and abusive language in the 59th minute.

Miller was adjudged to have fouled an opponent in the opposition box and he exchanged words with the defender for which he was sent off by referee Paul Lister.

Horsham battled well in the next ten minutes, but South Park took the lead 14 minutes later.

A blocked shot, after a good flowing move, fell to David Smith on the right of the box and he rode Billy Dunn’s tackle before firing past Michael Hunter, who was deputising in goal for the unavailable Gareth Williams.

The visitors then sealed the points in injury-time as a free kick from goalkeeper James Wastell was latched onto by Kieran Lavery, who, with the Horsham back four napping, took the ball under control and beat Hunter.

It had been an excellent performance from the Horsham defence up until that point with Tom Gilbert particularly impressing player-manager Gary Charman.

Glen Woodburn, who now looks set to be out for a number of weeks after limping off with a hamstring injury, had a solid first half which included a goal-line clearance from a Lavery effort.

He hooked away a goal-bound shot, before new signing Kieran Tarbie, also got a Daniel Guscot attempt off the line from the following corner.

Just before half-time, Horsham had an effort of their own cleared off the line as Dunn’s free kick was blocked away by Guscot.

Charman, who also missed out through an ankle injury, said: “It had draw written all over the game. They were the better side in the first half and we were the better for the first ten to 15 minutes of the second.

“Then one person ruined the game and it was not an opposition player or one of mine.

“Max Miller clearly won the ball. Their player has not even appealed for the foul. Max has not sworn, he has used a word that the referee has said that is not allowed to be said anymore - and it has not been said to us that that is the case.

“I won’t repeat what he said, but it wasn’t that bad and it was never at the referee, he was responding to the player who swore at him.

“If I am being honest, I didn’t think we were going to win the game, but the least my players deserved was a point and I thought they (South Park) we very organised and deserved a point as well.

“I am very, very disappointed. Glen has done his hamstring which will be four to six weeks, Billy has an injury which could be a 24 hour one or a lot longer and I’ve lost Max Miller for two to three games, so it has not been my best day, but at the same time, it could have been very different.”