A solitary Ash Jones goal saw Horsham end Eastbourne Town’s unbeaten start to the season on Tuesday – but it wasn’t the benchmark clash Dominic Di Paola was hoping for.
The defender’s first-half strike was the only goal of the game in a well-contested third round Peter Bentley Cup clash in terrible conditions at The Saffrons.
But the Hornets faced a much-changed Town side with manager John Lambert having one eye on their FA Cup clash at Didcot on Saturday.
They were happy to put at risk their superb start to the campaign which has seen them unbeaten in all competitions by resting ten players.
Di Paola was hoping to gauge his side’s start against one of their title rivals and said: “The only negative is we really do not know where we are or how we are getting on and challenging the top teams.
“We were not playing like for like. We had a few missing as well, but they changed a lot of their team and we were hoping to use it as a bench mark by playing their strongest team.
“It was a good win as the conditions were nigh on impossible as there was torrential rain and the pitch cut up in the second half. The positive thing was we won the game and I felt we deserved the victory. I don’t think Gareth (Williams) had a save to make and we had two or three chances we should have scored.
“We just wanted to play their full strength side to see how we match up to the bigger sides, but they have a big game coming up and I would have done the same.”
Horsham had a goal chalked off in the first half after Terry Dodd finished, but play was brought back for their free-kick instead.
Jones put the visitors ahead on the half-hour mark. His header from a Kieron Pamment corner was flicked on by Joe Shelley and saved, but Jones followed up to stab home the rebound.
Dodd had a couple of chances that he dwelled on after the break, while, after Ryan Paul was shown a straight red for a bad late tackle on Pamment, Williams was out to smother Town’s best chance.
Horsham: Williams, Knee, Farmer, Jones, Duncan (Storrie 80), Hunt, Keehan (Lewis 55), Shelley, Pamment, Boswell (Archibald 70), Dodd.
Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.
Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.
1 Make this website your homepage
2 Like our Facebook page at facebook.com/pages/Sport-Sussex
3 Follow us on Twitter @SportSussex
4 Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.
And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!