On a wet and windy night at Culver Road, a Hillians eleven that saw nine changes from Saturday’s game took on Horsham FC in the Velocity Trophy, writes Charlie Kelly.
The Hillians started brightly, and looked to grab an early goal through Cook, and some good running from Bennett.
Yet it was Horsham who made the breakthrough with their first shot on goal, a neat header from a poorly defended corner. 10 minutes later it was two, with former Hillians man Darren Budd finding the top corner with a delightful strike. Burgess Hill looked to get a goal back and reply instantly, but the Horsham defence stood firm.
A third goal was added on 36 minutes, another header, another set-piece. The Hillians went into the break 3-0 down, needing an Istanbul-like turnaround to warrant a result. The second half got off to a great start, with Smith – Joseph finding the corner after a neat interchange with Cook and Harding. The Hillians continued to press, playing much better football in the second half. However, on 70 minutes, a Horsham goal seemed to kill off the game, and it just didn’t seem to be the Hillians night. A bullet header from Cheick Toure in the 90th minute made it 4-2, but it was too late to salvage anything from the game. On a positive note, youngsters Barker, Cook and Bennett showed signs of promise, likewise 18-year-old Curtis Griffin, making his debut.
Manager Chapman said: “Last night against Horsham FC was very disappointing.
"Performance wise, with a number of changes to the starting line up, we gave opportunities to the fringe players to come in and show what they can do and with the exception of Billy Barker,Charlie Bennett and Curtis Griffin a vast number come up short.
"The goals we gave away were very poor and I feel the senior players on show should be embarrassed by there lack of desire and lack of responsibility to keep the ball out of our net. The only real positives to come out of the night were Matt Nezval is back playing and Aaron got on the score sheet. I also had a look at a few players in different positions and I’m clearer in my own mind moving forward.
"I have decided to release 4 players Alusine Bangura, Oli Bankhole, Issa Kamara and Jemal Johnson. We have also signed Lounisse Merzouk. He can play in a number of positions, and he really impressed in training He looked technically decent and very pacey and will have a run out with the 23s tonight.
"Hopefully we have one or two new signings (midfielders) in time for our next league game. I will not idle this season we are desperate to get better and if I feel players have gone stale or lack the effort and energy the BHTFC shirt deserves I will move people on .
"Moving on to Saturday and its an exciting game for the club as there’s only ourselves Bognor and Eastbourne Borough still in the competition from non league Sussex football ! We would love to join either of them in the next round. We know it will be difficult and we must make sure we do not leave anything behind when we entertain Wealdstone on Saturday."