Football fixture backlog

Horsham boss Gary Charman is just relieved to have played a match after watching his side win 1-0 at Walton & Hersham on Saturday.

JPCT 201113 S13470687x Gary Charman, Horsham FC, manager -photo by Steve Cobb
JPCT 201113 S13470687x Gary Charman, Horsham FC, manager -photo by Steve Cobb

It was the Hornets’ first match since December 17, with six successive postponements against Eastbourne Town, Three Bridges, Leatherhead, Worthing, Faversham Town and then the rearranged match with Three Bridges frustrating the Ryman South side.

Postponements have not stopped Charman keeping his side together though, keeping them hard at work during the break in fixtures which proved to pay off, with Junior Kaffo’s first half header kick-starting their 2014.

The Horsham boss said: “We never stopped working. I had the players in Saturday, Tuesday, Thursday pretty much all the way through Christmas, apart from the obvious dates.

“Every time we had a game called off I had them in for training. Their attitude has been spot on and it paid off.”

The recent rain has also had an effect on clubs in the Sussex County Football League, with Shoreham having only played 16 times this season, in comparison to some clubs who have played 21 in Division One.

Under Bryan O’Toole, the Musselmen haven’t played a competitive match since December 14, which was a 3-3 draw at home to Lancing. Due to fixture rearrangements, the south-coast side are now looking like they will be playing at least twice a week until the end of February.

Assistant manager Kane Louis admits it has been a frustrating time for the club. The former Brighton & Hove Albion player said: “There’s not much you can do about it and a lot of teams are all in the same boat, but it has been very frustrating.

“Fitness might be a bit of an issue when we play again if everyone’s had too many mince pies over Christmas, but we have had an indoor training session on Saturday and did a bit of road running last week and have had good numbers at training.”

All clubs will be hoping the wet weather stays clear in the hope of avoiding a fixture backlog like last season, which saw some sides playing Saturday-Tuesday-Thursday in the closing weeks of the season.