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Rocks held – but you have to ad-Mit that was quite a debut goal

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A superb goal by debut-making striker Tyrell Mitford salvaged a point for the Rocks – but they will look back on their 1-1 draw with Horsham believing they had the chances to take all three points.

Mitford, a former QPR youngster signed the same day, came off the bench to fire in a spectacular angled shot with little more than ten minutes left and might have added a couple more after that as a host of Bognor chances went wide or were kept out.

The point at least gets the Rocks off the mark for the season – while Horsham, who’d gone ahead late in the first half through Rob O’Toole, will have gone home reasonably happy with their second point from two games

Bognor’s first home game of the Isthmian premier season brought newly promoted Horsham to Nyewood Lane, with the Rocks keen to put their opening-day loss at Bishop’s Stortford behind them quickly.

Bognor gave a start to one player signed on the day of the game and had another on the bench.

Brighton academy defender Ben Clark-Eden started in place of Joe Dandy, while Mitford, a striker who came through the QPR academy system, was a sub.

There were also full debuts for keeper Charlie Searle – replacing Pompey’s Petar Durin – and ex-Pagham striker Dan Simmonds.

Horsham are back at Isthmian premier level after a seven-year absence and began their campaign with a creditable 1-1 draw at home to Leatherhead.

The first attack of purpose came from the Rocks seven minutes in when Jimmy Muitt – playing a deeper role than usual with Simmonds up front alongside Dan Smith – sending in a cross from the right for Stuart Green, who couldn’t direct his header on target.

Horsham looked dangerous going forward but Searle and his defence dealt with everything thrown at them early on.

Green surged through the middle and played the ball into Smith – it deflected into Simmonds’ path and he almost diverted it in.

Searle was called into the action at the other end to save a Charlie Harris shot. Then James Crane got forward for a low shot that wasn’t far off target but didn’t trouble Horsham stopper George Bentley.

Tommy Leigh sent a 25-yard shot well wide of the target just psst the midway point of the half.

Lee Harding got into the box after a flick-on but his shot was straight at Searle. Then Horsham looked certain to take the lead when Harris was played clear in the area but his curling right-footed effort was well stopped by Searle. Immediately Muitt drew a fine save from Bentley as the game opened up.

Smith wasted the best chance of the first half on 37 minutes when he ran on to his own flick down the left and cut into the box but had his fierce low shot saved by Bentley’s legs.

Crane was booked for simulation with fiveminutes of the first half left after going down as he tried to hold the ball up in the Horsham area.

Searle dashed out to deny Lavery when Jerry O’Sullivan put him through, then Sealr was beaten by a header but it went just the wrong side of the foot of the post.

Horsham took the lead when O’Toole headed in a right-sided corner which, in truth, the Rocks had conceded after putting themselves under unnecessary pressure. Clark-Eden was booked after the goal for handballing the header on the line and at the break, a number of Bognor players were complaining to the referee.

HT 0-1

Jack Brivio replaced Harding at the start of the second half for Horsham.

Newton had an opening for a second Hornets goal five minutes into the second half but he took too long about it and his eventual shot was weak.

In response Bognor tried to build a bit of pressure and Crane fired a rasping shot at goal that flew off a defender for a corner.

Alex Kelly replaced Harris for the Hornets just before the hour.

Another golden chance went begging for the Rocks on 62. Mitford turned his man on halfway ran through on goal. When a defender closed him down he squared it to Smith but by the time he had composed himself for the shot, the goalkeeper had narrowed the angle and saved.

Newton was booked for a clssh on the touchline with Muitt which had actually ended up with the pair hugging. Then Whyte was booked for a strong challenge on Kelly.

The home pressure kept coming and when Smith dribbled to the byline and cut the ball back to Ashton Leigh, he was blocked and Tommy Leigh sent the loose ball over the bar.

Another series of corners put Horsham under the cosh and from one, Muitt’s delivery was met by Smith’s head and it needed a header off the line. Dawson was booked for preventing the Rocks taking a quick free kick in the centre circle.

Smith was booked for blocking Bentley as he tried to take a goal kick.

Eventually the Rocks’ pressure told – in spectacular style. The ball was played short to sub Mitford as Bognor attacked down the left, he controlled it and cut inside and from just outside the box sent a superb drive beyonfd the keeper and into the far corner.

Within a minute the Rocks had almost surrendered the lead but sub Brivio’s shot, bound for the top corner, was clawed away by Searle.

Mitford fancied a second and went past a defender and shot inches over – then Smith, instead of going for goal himself, squared for Mitford whose low shot was superbly kept out by Bentley. It was a frenetic end to the game in stark contrast to a first half that had at times been insipid.

Mitford missed another chance on 84 minutes when he headed over from ten yards as a left-sided cross was nodded on to him.

Dawson was replaced by George Hayward with five minutes left. Horsham might have retaken the lead on 87 minutes but a low ball in from the right was missed by everyone.

Bognor’s fans were shouting for a penalty when a Horsham player’s clearance seemed to hit a team-mate’s hands but it was not given. Tommy Leigh sent a low shot through a crowd of players but Bentley got down well to it.

Rocks: Searle, Crane, A Leigh, T Leigh, Clark-Eden, Wood, Whyte, Green, Smith, Muitt, Simmonds. Subs: Scutt, Dunn, Williamson, Mitford, Durin.

Horsham: Bentley, O’Sullivan, Metcalf, Dawson, Shelley, Merchant-Simmonds, Lavery, Harris, O’Toole, Harding, Newton. Subs: Miles, Hayward, Brivio, Kelly, Smith.

Ref: Tristan Davies

Att – 545

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Horsham's unbeaten start 'means nothing at this stage'

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Dominic Di Paola stressed that Horsham’s unbeaten start to the new BetVictor Premier Division campaign ‘means nothing at this stage’.

The Hornets sit in an impressive seventh-place after three games, recording two draws and a win following promotion last season.

But, despite a very strong start, Di Paola insisted that not much should be read into their opening fixtures.

He said: “I don’t think you’re going to know until six to eight games in. The table means nothing at this stage. Results don’t necessarily mean much.

“Against Bognor we thought we underperformed in the game and yet they’ve gone and thumped someone on Saturday.

“If you look at Carshalton last year they started badly but finished second.

“We’ll know more once we’ve played a load of teams. Once you’ve played ten games you can say, actually this is where we are and this is where we need to improve.”

Although the Hornets boss was quick to temper early expectations, Di Paola has been delighted how everyone within the squad has ‘played their part over the first three games’.

He added: “It has been a pleasing start. Apart from a half against Bognor I’ve been happy with the boys in general.

“If you look over the first three games we’ve used all sorts of different players in different shapes and everyone has bought in to that.

“We’re a squad. We’re not about individuals at Horsham so it’s great that everyone has played their part over the first three games.”

Horsham travel to Tower Hamlets in the FA Cup preliminary round on Saturday before visiting Lewes in the league on bank holiday Monday.

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Horsham YMCA and Broadbridge Heath claim first wins of the season while Loxwood and Alfold suffer defeat – SCFL midweek round-up

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Tuesday night saw a full round of SCFL Premier Division fixtures played out, with both Horsham YMCA and Broadbridge Heath earning their first victories of the campaign.

YMCA traveled to Plaistow Road to face Loxwood with both teams still searching for their maiden wins of the season, and it was YMCA who came out on top, winning a goal-filled encounter 4-3.

Prolific forward Martin Smith opened the scoring in the sixth minute to give the visiting YMCA the lead, but Loxwood equalised through Matt Boiling 20 minutes later. Just two minutes later however, Matt Daniel restored YMCA’s lead, before doubling it just after half time to put the away side 3-1 up.

Martin Smith scored again ten minutes later to put YMCA out of sight, and even a late double from Alfie Gritt wasn’t enough for Loxwood as YM held on to record their first victory of a so far difficult season. Loxwood remain winless with just one point from their opening four games.

Broadbridge Heath beat Alfold 1-0 to earn their first win of the season and move them up to five points.

An even first half saw the sides go in all square at the break, but a second half strike was enough to earn the Bears all three points and inflict a first defeat of the season on Alfold.

Steyning Town narrowly lost out 3-2 away at Horley Town and stay on three points in the league.

Goals from Ben Hands and Jamie Weston weren’t enough to claim anything from the game, with Horley player Tony Halsey scoring a hat-trick to leave visitors Steyning with nothing.

In Division One, Billingshurst lost 4-0 at home to Arundel to mean they have now lost both of their opening two games.

This followed defeat to Southwick on the opening weekend, leaving Billingshurst as one of four teams in Division One that are still searching for their first point of the season.

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Horsham YMCA remain 'a work in progress' after late equaliser denies them first league win

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Horsham YMCA assistant manager Julian Miller was pleased with his side’s performance on Saturday, but insisted it is still ‘a work in progress.’

Goals from Martin Smith and Dean Lovegrove looked like they would be enough to claim the win, but an 86th minute strike by Hassocks’ Ben Bacon meant the spoils were shared at Gorings Mead and YM had to settle for a point.

Miller admitted it was ‘a shame’ to lose the lead so late on, but remains confident that it will all come together ‘sooner rather than later.’

He said: “The performance was better than they have been. Obviously it’s a work in progress. We’ve had a few youngsters come in, a few players left, a few long term injuries, so it will take a while to settle down but they’re good players.

“They won the under-23 league last year, all the ones that have come up, so we’ve got to be patient with them and hope it clicks sooner rather than later. That’s the way we’re looking at it.”

Miller continued: “It doesn’t take a lot for them to get a bit despondent, but definitely on Saturday I thought we were worth the three points and it was just a shame to concede right at the end.

“But it is difficult. It’s a puzzle, and we’ve just got to get the right bits at the moment.”

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Having lost some big players to higher divisions, Miller knows they have ‘a lot of goals to replace’ but is confident that striker Martin Smith can continue his form and have a successful season.

The assistant manager said: “I’ve got a lot of time for Martin Smith. He’s a handful, he’s a good finisher, but he makes defenders know he’s about. He’s what I call an old fashioned centre forward.

“The lads that have all moved on, are playing a higher standard and that’s good for the club. But when you get five of them go, that’s a lot in one hit and a lot of goals to replace.”

YMCA travel to neighbours Loxwood tonight (Tuesday) in the league. YM then host Egham Town in the FA Cup preliminary round on Saturday before welcoming Horley Town to Gorings Mead on Tuesday looking to pick up their first home win of the season.

Horsham YMCA: A Jeal, Carden, Evans, Gilbert, Harding, Ryder, Daniel, C Jeal (Nwachukwu 61), Smith, Lovegrove, Frankland (Wadhams 61). Unused: Gedling, Hunt, Dugdale.

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