Di Paola stays grounded as Horsham beat champions to go top

County League Division 1 Horsham v Shoreham . Pic Steve Robards SR1520478 SUS-150824-101101001
County League Division 1 Horsham v Shoreham . Pic Steve Robards SR1520478 SUS-150824-101101001

Horsham manager Dominic Di Paola is refusing to get carried away despite his side comfortably dispatching reigning champions Littlehampton Town 5-1 to go top of the table last night.

It was the second successive game that the Hornets have hit five goals and they led the Southern Combination League Premier Division clash 2-1 at half-time thanks to goals by Scott Murfin and Darren Boswell.

Peter Beadle had levelled the scores early in the first half, but after the break, two goals in four minutes from Charlie Farmer and Jordan Clark put Horsham well in control.

Golds player-manager George Gaskin then saw red for a second booking as substitute Shaun Charles added a fifth late on.

Di Paola said: “It was a good win, but I still think there is a lot of room for an improved performance. The scoreline flattered us a bit with five.

“In the last 20 minutes they lost their heads a bit and we were able to capitalise, which is a good thing - there is nothing wrong with that, but I think we can play a lot, lot better and I think we already have.

“We had a sloppy start and still went 1-0 up, but getting there through the traffic was difficult and it didn’t do the warm-up any good, which might explain that.

“It’s a nice three points, but it is only three points. It’s always good to beat a good side and they are one of the better sides.”

The Hornets had the lead on four minutes as Joe Shelley’s header from a corner was blocked on the line, but Murfin followed-up to open his account.

The Golds responded and the lead lasted five minutes as Beadle glanced a header into the bottom corner of Gareth Williams’ goal.

The visitors did not take the set-back lightly as within two minutes Boswell cut in from wide and as title-winning Town keeper Jon Hendrick, who was playing his first game of the season, hesitated, Boswell rounded him and rolled home.

Despite an intent of physicality from their hosts which saw them pick up numerous yellow cards in the first half, Horsham kept playing their passing game and Boswell and Alex Duncan went close to extending the lead.

After the break, Kieron Pamment’s low shot came back off the post, while Shelly fired inches over.

The travelling supporters did not have long to wait for a third however, as another corner was headed across the face of goal and Charlie Farmer fired home from close range.

Just four minutes later, Boswell fed Clark and with the midfielder shot low into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.

The home side were then to left to count the cost of their early yellow cards as Gaskin received a second yellow for a poorly-timed tackle with 15 minutes remaining.

Shelley saw an effort off the top of the bar late on, while substitute Jake Chadwick squared for fellow replacement Charles, who poked past Hendrick with three minutes left.

On the physicality of their hosts, Di Paola added: “They are quite renowned for it within the league and have been for a years. As I always say, there is nothing wrong with it.

“Teams can play how they want to against. If they park the bus we have to be good enough to break them down,if they are physical and get amongst us, we have got to move the ball better and quicker.”

The Horsham boss also commented on the emerging talent of youngster Chadwick, and added: “He is a good little player. We have got to keep getting him in and out in games and play him in the right games.

“It is not easy being 17, as soon as he came on the pitch against Littlehampton one of their guys saw an opportunity to get into him and wind him up with a few digs.

“I was saying to him to stay calm as long as he keeps on come the end of the season he will be starting games and next year pushing on for a starting place. I think he is a really good player and can see him playing at Ryman level.”

Horsham: Williams, Duncan, Jones, Farmer (Chadwick 74), Knee, Shelley, Lewis, Pamment, Murfin (Charles 77), Boswell (O’ Hagan 74). Unused subs: Storrie.