Horsham 1-1 Worthing: Hornets held by ten-man Rebels

Tony Nwachukwu impressed when he came on
Tony Nwachukwu impressed when he came on

A rainy derby saw Worthing hold Horsham to a 1-1 draw despite playing for more than an hour with ten men.

The Rebels went ahead early through debutant Lloyd Dawes but then had former Hornet Paul Kennett dismissed and soon after a Charlie Cook own goal put the hosts on equal terms.

Horsham pressed for a winner in the second half but had a strong penalty shout waved away, and in the final moments a super stop from goalkeeper Jack Fagan denied sub Gabby Odunaike as the points were shared.

The Rebels went ahead in the 11th minute when Mark Knee was afforded too much room on the left to curl in a cross which striker Dawes stooped to head in from close range having got between Horsham’s statuesque centre backs.

The visitors were working hard in the wet to close down their hosts and deny them any time on the ball, but their efforts were undermined in the 24th minute by a rash moment by Paul Kennett which saw him shown a straight red. After fouling Ross Morley the pair then clashed and a raise arm, albeit with minimal contact saw the Worthing defender handed an early bath.

The Hornets then took only four minutes to profit from their numerical advantage with a gift of a goal. Morley’s free kick from deep was allowed to bounce in the visiting box and Charlie Cook’s attempts to clear saw the ball ricochet off his chest and nestle in his own net.

The extra man allowed the hosts more space, though the final ball was generally lacking until close to half time when a fine threaded pass released Miles Mitchell down the left but a last-ditch tackle denied him as he went to pull the trigger.

An attacking Horsham change at the break saw forward Gabby Odunaike replace defensive midfielder Scott Harris and the new arrival came close to making an immediate impact, though he could only turn a Billy Dunn cross over the bar from a couple of yards out.

The was warm applause from the home fans at the introduction of Tony Nwachukwu on the hour for his first appearance of the season following a knee injury. And five minutes after coming on he picked the ball up on the edge of the box from a corner, tricked his way past three challenges and then seem to be barged to the ground by Cooke, though the referee waved away loud home penalty protests.

Rebels stopper Jack Fagan let a stinging Dunn effort slip through his hands as the rain continued to drive down but he was able to gather before the ball squirmed over the line.

Nwachukwu’s pace was cause for concern for a tiring Rebels defence, and a cynical shirt tug from Knee prevented him darting through and earned the left back a yellow card, the referee initially flashing red before realising he hadn’t already been booked.

To Worthing’s credit they refused to close ranks and looked to hit the hosts on the break.

Though with four minutes left of the 90 Horsham came a crossbar’s width from finding the goal they so desperately craved, Nwachukwu’s trickery saw him pull back to Odunaike in the box but his goal-bound strike was pushed onto the bar by a flying Fagan.

Horsham: Hunter; Hamilton, B King (Nwachukwu 60), J King, Simpson; Napper, Morley, Harris (Odunaike 45); Dunn, Mitchell, Cade.

Worthing: Fagan; Cooke Knee, Kennett, Berry; Gedling, Crellin, Lansdale, O’Flaherty (Pamment 55); Dawes (Daniel 70), Hayward (Brockhurst 37).