At a venue where they had lost all six league meetings since 2011, AFC Uckfield Town were unable to overturn the weight of history against Horsham YMCA, falling to a 3-1 defeat to the West Sussex side as they played sections of the second half with eight men, reports Will Hugall.
Despite recording a 3-1 RUR Cup win in August at Gorings Mead, the Uckers’ barren league run at YMCA had stretched back to a 1-0 win in September 2011 prior to kick-off, and despite having a superb chance to overturn that after an hour-mark equaliser, it was ill-discipline which ultimately confirmed a seventh straight defeat.
An unfamiliar Uckers side – without captain Richie Welch and top scorer Liam Baitup – began relatively well at Gorings Mead, handling the threat of a home attack with the best scoring record outside of the SCFL Premier Division’s top five without too much early trouble.
While promising chances then arrived for Ellis Cormack and Matt Maclean, neither managed to hugely trouble the home defence, even if wide deliveries were proving difficult for the hosts to handle.
As it was, YM were defensively solid, and would take advantage of their control by breaking the deadlock in the 29th minute as Tayler Maddock felled a home forward and defender Dean Carden dispatched the resulting penalty, firing into the top right corner past Phil Hawkins.
Peter Buckland’s side, who finished 2nd in 2018-19 but have sat around mid-table this season, exerted their control before the break, but the Uckers were still able to go close as Maclean almost met a Bailo Camara cross on the stroke of half-time.
The restart allowed Anthony Storey’s side to redouble their efforts, and with wing play hurting the hosts the introduction of Dee Okojie proved pivotal – his 60th-minute cross on the money to find Cormack, who made no error in heading home to level the game at 1-1.
While the Uckers would’ve expected to push on straight after, the events of the next ten minutes removed all hopes of victory in an almost unbelievable set of circumstances leading to total self-combustion.
In the 64th minute, Maddock was first shown a second yellow card to be dismissed, and Matt Daniel took advantage of the lapse in Uckfield organisation to put the hosts 2-1 up in the 65th minute.
Only minutes later, Sam Cooper was also awarded a second booking to add to Dean Stewart-Hunter’s sin-bin and the Uckers’ hopes of stabilising proved short-lived.
YM had full control thereafter, confirming their victory as a comfortable one as Daniel bagged his second – and 21st of the season – in the 83rd minute.
In the act of trying to restore parity, the Uckers’ afternoon only got worse as Cormack was also placed in the sin-bin in the final few minutes, and at full-time, it was confirmed that YM would leapfrog them into 9th, while the Uckers fell to 10th.
AFC Uckfield Town: Hawkins, Rodrigues-Barbosa (Okojie, 59’), Cooper, Stewart-Hunter, Maddock, Norman, Jenden, Maclean (C), Laing, Cormack (Ryan Welch, 90’), Camara
Unused: Hull, Ovenden, Loft