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Horsham’s game management praised in tough conditions at basement boys Greenwich Borough



Horsham’s game management was praised as they overcame difficult conditions away to basement boys Greenwich Borough on Saturday.

Goals early in each half from Joe Shelley and Chris Smith from the penalty spot gave the Hornets their 18th win of the season.

Greenwich Borough v Horsham. Chris Smith steps up for his penalty. Picture by John Lines

Greenwich Borough v Horsham. Chris Smith steps up for his penalty. Picture by John Lines

It kept them second in the Bostik League South East Division and with victories for all the fellow play-off chasers, maintains their narrow lead over Ashford United, Hastings United and Haywards Heath.

Hornets manager Dominic Di Paola was pleased with their performance as they battled swirling winds and a fairly poor playing surface in south east London.

He said: “I think the conditions made it really hard. The combination of the pitch being quite poor and the wind – although most people would have had an issue with the wind over the weekend.

“Trying to manage those things against a team this is fighting for their life at the bottom made it hard.

Greenwich Borough v Horsham. Lee Harding and Harvey Sparks. Picture by John Lines

Greenwich Borough v Horsham. Lee Harding and Harvey Sparks. Picture by John Lines

“The boys were brilliant, it was not a vintage footballing performance, but I was really happy with how they dealt with things.

“We knew what to expect with the pitch and it wasn’t the best, but you have to get on with it. We could have easily come unstuck up there so it’s another important three points.”

In their battle to beat the drop, Greenwich made four signings during the week and started all of them in Jack Sammoutis, Charlie Allen, Teshuane Tyreece-Walters and Theo Fairweather-Johnson.

The Hornets made two changes from the defeat at Cray Wanderers with Steve Metcalf replacing the injured Lewis Hyde and Chris Smith coming in for Dan Pearse, who begun a three match suspension.

The visitors led after just four minutes when Lee Harding’s free-kick picked out the arriving Shelley to glance in a header past young Crystal Palace loanee goalkeeper Ollie Webber.

Greenwich responded with two decent chances as Tyreece-Walters twice headed over.

Smith saw his squeezed attempt blocked by Webber and Jack Brivio curled just wide, before Smith crossed for Harding, but he someone fired over from close range.

The wind got worse in the second half, but again the Hornets profited from a defensive mistake nine minutes after the restart. Referee Jonathan Bolland spotted a shove on Shelley and instantly pointed to the spot. Smith had to re-spot the ball after it had blown off, yet held his nerve to stroke the ball down the middle of the goal.

Greenwich continued to ask questions and a couple of blocks were required from Shelley and Josh Pelling as well a save pair of hands from a Joe Wicks drive.

At the other end, Smith looked like he would make it three, but Tyrell Richardson-Brown’s lay-off took a bobble at the last moment. Greenwich’s Olutoysi Olusanya was also denied by Pelling as Horsham claimed the points.

Horsham: Pelling, Metcalf, Shelley, Merchant, Sparks, Harding, O’Toole, Brivio (Lovegrove 87), Hayward, Lavery (Richardson-Brown 73), Smith. Unused: Hyde, Kirkwood, Hogan.

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Here’s how Horsham are sitting in the crucial points-to-game standings



Horsham are currently sitting pretty with their points-to-game ratio – boasting the eighth best from 28 teams that are currently in the play-off mix at Step 4.

It has been long known that all the play-off winners this year will not go up with two victories sides missing out.

Last year’s restructuring brought an extra league at Step 4 meaning that there will be 14 teams vying for 12 promotion places.

When the seven league winners go up, that will mean that two play-off winners will not be promoted, which will be decided on a points-to-game ration throughout the season.

The two play-off winners with the lowest tally will heartbreakingly miss out on going up.

With Horsham sealing their position in the Bostik League South East top five on Saturday – the focus now is very much on trying to win every game and improve their current points-to-game ratio which is 2.00.

To put that in context, Bromsgrove Sporting have the top points-to-game tally of 2.314 and Didcot Town the worst on 1.60.

Hornets boss Dominic Di Paola has, for a number of weeks, been calling on his side not to let up in their play-off pursuit.

Ahead of sealing their place with a 3-2 win at Herne Bay on Saturday, the manager had said: “I quite like the fact we are not their yet. It sharpens the mind. With the points-to-game thing, it’s almost like you have to go to the last game of the season anyway.”

And that will be the continuing message as Horsham complete their season this weekend. They first host Faversham Town on Saturday, before travelling to Guernsey on Easter Monday – with six points the target.

They are without a game on the final Saturday of the season (April 20) as they were due to play the now defunct Thamesmead Town.

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Horsham YMCA boss Buckland: 'If I had been offered second at Christmas I would’ve taken it'



Peter Buckland believes a second-place finish would represent a good season for Horsham YMCA after an injury-blighted Christmas seriously curtailed their bid for the Premier Division title.

One win in six games, from December 8 to January 12, saw YM’s ravaged squad drop down to third and strike a blow to any chances of promotion to the Bostik League.

Since then the Gorings Mead-outfit have gone on a 12 game unbeaten run and now occupy the runners-up spot.

But any hopes of catching table-topping Chichester City were extinguished a fortnight ago, as Chi secured the title after a 2-0 home win over Langney Wanderers.

Buckland said: “If I had been offered second at Christmas time I would’ve taken it. We were going like a train up until Christmas and then we hit a brick wall with injuries.

“From the chairman down, we didn’t truly realise the trees that we’ve pulled up to be where we are.

“We’ve had Callum Donaghey, Luke Donaldson, Dave Brown, Ash Dugdale, Dan Mobsby, Tom Gilbert, Adam Hunt, Ollie Gill, Jack Frankland and Jack Hartley all out. I know it’s not unique to me but I’m not sure many teams can say they’ve got ten out, and of that ten, seven would start.

“I know my starting XI and I know my good bench of five and I know my formation and pattern of play. Have I been able to use it? Not since October.

“Unless you’ve got a big budget and you can phone a Lewes or a Worthing and ask if they have a couple of players available for a month you can get through it. We can’t do that. You just have to muddle your way through.

“People thought ‘YM have lost their bottle again at Christmas’ but it’s nothing to do with them not wanting it. It was simply injuries.

SEE ALSO Buckland ‘grateful’ for victory over Hassocks on a ‘mixed up day’ for Horsham YMCA | Buckland hails young guns as Horsham YMCA scoop Team of the Month award for March | Horsham YMCA ‘deflated’ after last-gasp Newhaven equaliser but Buckland sees the positives
“I was confident of being right in the mix at the start of the season and I’m somewhat surprised, after everything that has gone on, that we’re as high up as we are.

“It’s been frustrating but somewhat pleasing that we are where we are.”

Buckland has already begun planning for the 2019/20 campaign and revealed that YMCA would have to strengthen if they are to claim the Premier Division crown.

But the YM boss will continue to give his under-23 players game time next term, after they impressed during Horsham YMCA’s torrid run.

He added: “We will be recruiting and we’ve already earmarked players. I’m already focussing on next season. We definitely will need to strengthen the squad because I can’t have this situation again.

“If I knew this squad of 18 were all going to be available all through the season, I’d happily stick with them.

“Maybe we’ve got an aging squad. Some of them may have to accept that they may take a bit longer to heal.

“The good thing to come out of this is we’ve blooded the youngsters from the under-23s. Leon Eales, Jack Ryder, and Brad Ross have stepped up into the breach and done really well.

“In an ideal world I would’ve phased them in with experienced players, maybe two at a time. They’ve been thrown in at the deep end, not in there natural position, but they’ve taken to it like a duck to water.”

YM make the short trip to near-neighbours Broadbridge Heath on Saturday, before they host Crawley Down Gatwick on Tuesday.

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Nude swimming introduced at Arundel Lido for The Great British Skinny Dip



Naturists will be able to go costume-free at Arundel Lido when the outdoor pool joins in The Great British Skinny Dip for the first time.

This thrilling new event will give adults the opportunity to swim naked for one night only, as part of the national event in July.

Arundel Lido has Arundel Castle as the backdrop

Arundel Lido has Arundel Castle as the backdrop

Read more on Project LEAP: Lido expansion plans take giant leap forward

Nikki Richardson, general manager, said: “This event is for over-18s only and is a fundraiser to help with the cost of our new changing huts.”

The Great British Skinny Dip will be at Arundel Lido on Wednesday, July 3, from 7pm to 9pm.

Last season, Arundel Lido welcomed more than 38,000 visitors to its pools, making it the best season yet.

Nikki added: “Let’s hope 2019 is the same, if not better. Last year provided Arundel Lido with plenty of visitors, bookings and, best of all, numerous sunny days.”

This summer season will be the 16th since the lido was taken over by Arundel and Downland Community Leisure Trust, a registered charity.

The gates open on Saturday, May 4. Adults of all fitness levels are welcome to join the early-morning boot camp with Five Seven Fitness at 8.45am, then from 10am, there will be free entry to the pools for the day. A retro sports day will be held on the field, with traditional races run by Arundel Lido volunteers for adults and children.

The season continues until Sunday, September 8, with both pools open Monday to Friday, 12pm to 6pm, and weekends 10am to 7pm.

Season tickets bought in advance from the lido or over the opening weekend will receive a £5 early bird discount. The office is generally manned 9.30am to 4.30pm, Monday to Friday, but telephone 01903 884772 in advance if you would like to pop in and pay.

Nikki said: “Exciting weekly activities to look forward to this season include South Coast Mermaids, inflatable sessions, swimming lessons, boot camp, aqua aerobics, adult-only swims and parent and toddler sessions, with swim lessons included.

“Active Academies will also be running two Swim and Run camps during the school holidays, Raw Energy Pursuits is running the Arundel Triathlon and Tuff Fitty is hosting numerous training sessions for their members.”

During the winter, Arundel Lido has continued to seek funding towards Project LEAP, through bids and events, including a Casino Royale evening at Hilton Avisford Park, which raised nearly £3,000.

Planning permission for this further development of the site was granted in June last year and the new outdoor changing huts will help keep the traditional feel of the lido.

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