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Second-placed Horsham hailed for highest finish since 2006, no matter what happens now

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Dominic Di Paola has hailed the efforts of all involved no matter what happens in the play-offs as Horsham clinched second place in the Bostik League South East Division on Bank Holiday Monday.

The Hornets rounded off their campaign with a 2-1 away win at Guernsey to confirm their highest league position since 2006.

Guernsey v Horsham. Steve Metcalf. Picture by John Lines.JPG

Guernsey v Horsham. Steve Metcalf. Picture by John Lines.JPG

Goals from Chris Smith and Lee Harding handed them their 23rd win of the campaign and ensured they go into next week’s play-offs against either Ashford United or Haywards Heath at home on a run of six straight wins.

Horsham manager Di Paola said: “We played ok. We looked a little leggy, but in general we were pretty good. It was nice to get the final win and over the finish line of the league campaign.

“The boys have been brilliant. The points per game total and where we have finished in the table regardless of what happens in the play-offs.

“The fact we had lost four out of six in the first month of the season and gone on to finish second especially with the calibre of the league is something.

Guernsey v Horsham. Lee Harding strokes home. Picture by John Lines

Guernsey v Horsham. Lee Harding strokes home. Picture by John Lines

“If the season finished now I’d be really happy with what we have achieved as a football club. To finish above some of the teams we have is brilliant. The boys and staff behind the scenes deserve all the credit.”

Horsham opened the scoring on 21 minutes thanks to a well worked goal. Kieran Lavery’s run down the right-wing wasn’t tracked by the Guernsey defence, allowing him to thread the ball into the path of Smith who tucked home with aplomb.

That was the way it remained until Guernsey shot themselves in the foot with 13 minutes of the game left to play after another awful back-pass. Keanu Marsh was the guilty party this time, as Harding raced onto the ball to fire past Stanton.

A Carlos Canha rocket from outside the box with two minutes to go ensured a nervy finish at Footes Lane, but the visitors saw out an added five minutes.

Di Paola added: “I think they had one shot and scored from it. Don’t get me wrong, we did not create a huge amount, but the Saturday game took a bit out of us. We were a bit leggy.

“Once we got the second we were able to see it out. It was quite a professional performance – the boys have added that to their game. Earlier in the season we kept playing to score and expansive football an came unstuck a few times.”

Horsham: Mant, Metcalf, Sparks, Brivio, Miles (Hyde 66), Merchant, Lavery, Hayward, O’Toole (Taylor 84), Smith (Richardson-Brown 67), Harding. Unused: Lovegrove, Baxter.

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Crawley Town

'We have got to dust ourselves down and get ready for next week' – Crawley Town's Sendles-White

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Jamie Sendles-White says Crawley Town players must ‘dust themselves down’ and work hard to get ready for next week.

A poor second half saw the Reds lose 2-1 at Walsall and Sendles-White told the club’s website they let their usual standards slip.

SEE ALSO ‘You can see why certain players in this football club have seen certain managers off’ – Crawley Town boss Yems on Walsall defeat | Late stunner denies Crawley Town a point at Walsall
He said: “I don’t think we really got going today. We were at stages, especially when they got their goals, very poor with the ball and without it as well.

“We didn’t retain it up top as well as we normally do and then for the first goal it’s got through to easy and he’s slid in and that’s changed the momentum.

“I felt that before we let our standards slip, we were looking ok and I didn’t think they were going to score.

“We have got to dust ourselves down and look at where we went wrong and get ready for next week.

“We all said in their [the changing room] it was a good chance to come away with three points and maybe put to bed our not-so-good away form. We are disappointed and we need to work hard this week to get it right for Saturday.

“Last week was a great result and performance as well, we need to get back to that and put it right next week in front of the home fans.”

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Crawley Town

Late stunner denies Crawley Town a point at Walsall

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Wes McDonald’s stunner completed a late comeback for Walsall to break Crawley Town hearts.

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Chelsea FC

Chelsea come behind to beat Reading as Kerr makes instant impact

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Sam Kerr made an instant impact on debut as Chelsea came from behind to beat Reading.

Kerr, the all-time top scorer in the American National Women’s Soccer League and Australian W-League, assisted Beth England’s opener, was involved in Guro Reiten’s second and was fouled by Reading’s goalkeeper Grace Moloney, who was sent off.

Fara Williams had opened the scoring for Reading before Kerr stole the show, while Erin Cuthbert sealed the win for unbeaten Chelsea with fifteen minutes to go.

Chelsea started strongly, Australian international Kerr getting in behind twice in the opening ten minutes, only to blaze over and then be denied by Sophie Howard’s tackle.

But Reading took the lead in the 15th minute, as Chelsea failed to clear their lines and Williams rifled in from the edge of the box.

Moments later, Reading were down to ten as Moloney came charging out to tackle Kerr and fouled her, drawing the red card.

Substitute goalkeeper Rachael Laws was forced into top saves to deny England and Kerr and Ji fired wide as Chelsea took control of the game.

And the equaliser they deserved came five minutes before half-time, as Kerr’s delightful back-heel freed England, who rounded Laws to slot home.

Chelsea should have scored in the 57th minute as Reading were forced into multiple goal-line clearances, and Millie Bright’s header was clawed out by Laws.

Kerr broke in on goal in the 64th minute, her shot was saved and Reiten volleyed the rebound superbly into the corner from range.

Cuthbert then followed in after England’s point-blank header was saved to secure the points. Millie Farrow had a great chance for Reading but was denied by Ann-Katrin Berger.

To follow the action, buy tickets and sign-up for The FA Player’s live Barclays FA Women’s Super League coverage visit womenscompetitions.thefa.com

Chelsea new signing Sam Kerr said: “I’ve really enjoyed it so far. I’m hoping to get as many games as I can in before the Olympic qualifiers start. I’m still finding my feet in England but it’s been quality working with Beth, she’s a great player.

“I’m pleased to get an assist but I need to sharpen up on my shooting. It’s freezing in England but I’m enjoying it. I’ve settled in as best I can in nine days.

“I like the WSL, I like that it’s in this compact stadium where the crowd was lively. The girls have made me feel really comfortable.”

Reading boss Kelly Chambers said: “It was frustrating. We were on top for the 20 minutes that we had with 11 players on the pitch and we went 1-0 up.

“We were more comfortable but the red card was a killer for us. We were causing them a lot of problems. And when we went behind we knew it would be difficult from there.

“We were perhaps unlucky not to be 1-0 up at half-time and that would have been a different second-half. But to play with ten against Chelsea is always going to be tough.

“We asked Grace to play a little bit higher but she’s been reckless and made the wrong decision. It’s a case of the decision has been made and it was the right decision from the referee.

“Rachael Laws came on and made some unbelievable saves. She really stepped up to the mark and now she has three games to try and fight for the number one spot.”

Chelsea (4-4-2): Ann-Katrin Berger; Maren Mjelde, Millie Bright, Magdalena Eriksson, Jonna Andersson (c); Drew Spence, Sophie Ingle, So-Yun Ji, Guro Reiten; Bethany England, Sam Kerr

Substitutes: Erin Cuthbert on for Ingle 62 Hannah Blundell on for Kerr 77, Jamie-Lee Napier on for Mjelde 89

Substitutes not used: Emily Orman, Jess Carter, Deanna Cooper, Emily Murphy

Goals: England 40, Reiten 64, Cuthbert 75

Reading (4-4-2): Grace Moloney; Rachel Rowe, Jo Potter, Sophie Howard, Maz Pacheco; Jade Moore, Angharad James, Remi Allen, Fara Williams ©; Brooke Chaplen, Amalie Eikeland

Substitutes: Rachael Laws for Chaplen 19, Natasha Harding for Williams 69, Millie Farrow for James 82

Substitutes not used: Molly Bartrip, Lisa-Marie Utland, Maxime Bennink, Kiera Skeels

Goals: Williams 15

Bookings: Allen 49

Red Cards: Moloney 16

Referee: Stacey Pearson

Attendance: 2,828

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