Horsham YMCA boss Pete Buckland was proud of his players after the way they played against Crawley Town on Tuesday night.
They really took the game to their professional opponents and twice could have taken the lead during a highly-creditable first-half showing.
Crawley eventually opened the scoring in rather lucky style with a goal by Adi Yussuf which took a deflection before beating keeper Sam Smith.
Further goals by Conor Henderson and Sanchez Watt saw Reds through to the quarter-final of the Sussex Senior Cup with a 3-0 win.
Buckland said: “I am very proud of the team. We can hold our heads up high.
“We put up a good account of ourselves. They (Crawley) had a good side out with first team players coming back from injury. In the first half we were really good and should have taken the lead.
“After 37 minutes they scored a fortunate goal – it was going miles out and it took a wicked deflection.
“They then scored soon afterwards from a Conor Henderson free-kick which was very good.
“Going into the second half at 2-0 down was difficult to come back from – if it had been 0-0 we might have been able to bring on some fresh legs and grab a goal.
“They (Crawley) managed the game really well – they were making the ball do the work, and kept possession well.
“We were tiring in the second half and they nicked a third goal.”
Buckland reckoned their display defied their unexpectedly-low position in the Southern Combination League Premier Division, where they currently lie tenth.
He said: “It was a good all-round experience. It shows we are much lower in the league than we should be, after putting in a shift like that.
“Maybe players get uninspired playing the same teams at the same venues, week-in, week-out. We should be in the top four or five.
“We have been hit by some unlucky injury problems, too many to go through but Luke Gedling has to have a hernia operation so will not be back until the back end of the season and Phil Johnson has a calf strain. The list goes on and on.”
Crawley Town boss Dermot Drummy praised YM for making it such a tough game.
He said: “They could have scored twice, and I thought their organisation was very good. Their commitment was also very good and they pressed us in.
“I was said to the boys we have to break the press because what they were doing what they were doing they were doing very well.”
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