Horsham’s performance praised, but fury at ‘ridiculous’ referee decision at Hastings

Horsham v Guernsey - manager Dominic Di Paola 07-01-17. Steve Robards  Pic SR1637967 SUS-170701-173326001
Horsham v Guernsey - manager Dominic Di Paola 07-01-17. Steve Robards Pic SR1637967 SUS-170701-173326001

Dominic Di Paola praised his side for playing their best football in over a month - but was left fuming at a refereeing decision in their defeat at Hastings United.

Having conceded after 43 seconds as Harry Stannard netted, the visitors were 2-0 down before half-time as Jack Harris profited from an error.

In between that Horsham had played well and were left to rue what they felt was a stonewall red card for Hastings at the start of the second half for a foul on Tony Nwachukwu.

With that not given, the home side netted a third through Jack Evans in the closing stages to send Horsham to their third consecutive defeat.

Di Paola said: “I thought we played really well. Perhaps I am a little biased, but I am normally relatively fair when we do not play well.

“We came out and made horrible mistakes in the first minute and they scored and made a horrible mistake for their second goal, but apart from that we were competitive.

“I thought we dominated possession and the play, but we did lack a bit of a cutting edge. We had maybe 70 per cent of the ball, but did not score when we should have done.

“I was happy with the performance and felt sorry for the boys. They feel well beaten, but I thought a draw would have been a fair result. It was the best football we have played in six weeks.

“We looked a really good footballing side and I have not said that too many times this season. It was a good performance with a threadbare squad. We played well and it was just unfortunate. I can’t be negative apart from the sloppy start.”

One point that the Hornets boss didn’t think was just unfortunate, was the fact that Hastings didn’t have a man sent off for a last-man foul on Nwachukwu.

He said: “They should have had a player sent-off at the start of the second half. It was a ridiculous decision and highly frustrating. I have tried very hard not to criticise referees this season, but it was a clear sending-off.

“Tone was clear through on goal, the keeper was on the goal line, he was definitely getting a shot away and their bloke has taken him out. If referees just admitted when they had made a mistake or said they missed something, then you would have so much more respect for them.”

On the positive side, Adam Hunt made his first start after being sidelined this season with injury and there were a number of impressive displays with Di Paola singling out Nwachukwu and George Branford.