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Match Reports

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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Match Reports

Brighton’s Leon Balogun caught out as Madagascar stun Nigeria at Africa Cup of Nations

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A defensive error from Brighton’s Leon Balogun helped Madagascar to an unlikely 2-0 victory against Nigeria at the Africa Cup of Nations.

The win for Madagascar, who are 108th in the Fifa rankings, confirmed their place in the last-16 by surprisingly topping Group B.

Nigeria, who had already guaranteed their spot in the knockout phase prior to the game at the Alexandria Stadium, will need to improve significantly if they are to progress.

The Super Eagles fell behind in the 13th-minute, as Lalaina Nomenjanahary took advantage of a woeful defending from Balogun to slot home after rounding goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa.

Despite dominating in terms of possession, Nigeria failed to record a shot on target in the first half and almost conceded a second just before the break, only for Madagascar captain Faneva Andriatsima to fire wide when through on goal.

Eight minutes into the second half Madagascar sealed the win when Carolus Andriamahitsinoro’s free-kick, following a foul on the edge of the area from Leicester midfielder Wilfred Ndidi, took a deflection and looped into the net.

Balogun’s Albion teammate Gaetan Bong also advanced to the knockout stage with Cameroon and Brighton’s third participant at the Africa Cup of Nations, Percy Tau, will go through as well, if South Africa avoid defeat against Morocco.

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Match Reports

Ben White signs new contract with Brighton but joins Leeds United on loan

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Brighton & Hove Albion under-23 defender Ben White has signed a one-year contract extension, and will now spend the 2019/20 season on loan at Leeds United.

The 21-year-old’s contract will run until June 2022, and following previous loan spells at Newport County and Peterborough United, White will now head to Elland Road to test himself in the Championship.

Under-23 coach Simon Rusk said, “This is an exciting move for Ben and one that makes sense in his natural development.

“Ben will have to adapt once again, as he joins a new group of players and experiences an increased standard of quality and athleticism in the Championship.

“I’m delighted for Ben to experience playing at that level in front of bigger crowds, and we’ll be keeping a close eye on his progress at Elland Road.”

After spending the opening half of last season with Albion’s under-23s, White moved to Sky Bet League One side Peterborough, where he made 16 appearances and scored once.

White had previously made 42 league appearances during a beneficial loan spell at Newport County, which followed two senior appearances for the Seagulls in the EFL Cup during the 2016/17 campaign.

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Match Reports

Roffey ‘really frustrated’ as Eastbourne clash is abandoned in ‘bright sunshine’

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Roffey remained top of the Premier Division but saw their lead cut in what was a ‘really frustrating’ day as their clash against Eastbourne was abandoned.

The Boars fell foul of the weather as their home clash was rained off in the first innings. That left each side with ten points and saw Brighton & Hove cut Roffey’s lead at the top of the table to just 16 points.

Matt Davies side went into the weekend with a 31 point advantage over then second-placed side Preston Nomads.

They managed to put on 186-3 in 29.5 overs on Saturday, before rain called a halt to proceedings. Ben Manenti made 94 and Jibran Khan 55 not out.

But with a number of breaks due to the weather throughout the day, they eventually found they had gone over time to get a game in despite the weather improving.

Davies said: “We were looking at a score of 240/250, so for the game to be called off in bright sunshine when we had only gone over by one or two minutes was really frustrating.

“We wanted to keep our momentum and winning run going, but these things happen. It affected lots of sides and some were lucky to get on and some were not.

“It was only Brighton that made up some ground and it is nice to still be top. Being rained off, there is just nothing you can do.”

Roffey travel to Preston Nomads on Saturday.

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