It's hard to believe Horsham played the better hockey with that scoreline

Sam Gill in action for Horsham. Photo by Clive Turner
Sam Gill in action for Horsham. Photo by Clive Turner

From the scoreline it’s hard to believe Horsham played the better hockey throughout this match.

They controlled most of the play, passed the ball well around the back, mostly dominated the midfield, and forced the West Hampstead keeper into all sorts of acrobatics by creating a heap of chances. In between times the visitors scored 5 goals from fast breaks and counter-attacks and won the points.

Joey Humphries (centre) in action for Horsham.

Joey Humphries (centre) in action for Horsham.

One of the most telling statistics was that the West Hampstead defence threw everything at the Horsham attack, put their bodies on the line and gave away 6 short corners by fouling home attackers in the D. Horsham converted only one.

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At the other end of the pitch, the home back line gave away no short corners. Perhaps it is time for the Horsham defence to get more in the faces of opposition attackers. It might mean conceding short corners but, as Horsham proved to themselves, short corners are not easy to score.

As ever Horsham started well. Ten minutes into the game, at the first round of substitutions, manager Al Campbell bought Ed Marsh off the bench into the attack and he immediately had an impact, creating a short corner which Sean Pearcy comfortably converted.

However, Horsham are struggling to sort out their shape, changing between man-to-man marking and a zonal formation. Twice before half-time the visitors threaded the ball through empty space and created simple tap-ins from short range.

Turning around at 2-1 down Horsham regrouped and regained the momentum. From midfield Freddie Campbell’s long ball found Sam MacDonald on the right wing and the resulting cross created a goal mouth fracas which let Toby Fraser level the scores. A textbook goal straight off the training ground.

Shortly after the restart a defensive error let a visiting attacker through for a virtuoso goal. With plenty of time on the clock Horsham pressed, only to be denied by a keeper who managed to get in the way of everything.

Horsham will blame the umpire for the 4th West Hampstead goal, when the ball appeared to have gone out of play over the back line. Throwing everything into attack Horsham were still playing by far the most convincing hockey, and the final goal came against the run of play.

"Without doubt the West Hampstead keeper was man of the match," Al Campbell commented after the game. ‘They had perhaps six chances and scored five, we’ve had the ball almost over the line nearly a dozen times and scored two."

This weekend the team travel to Eastbourne, whom Horsham have beaten in their last four meetings. They must hope for some luck.