Hornets boss Simon Colbran said his side’s encouraging performance in losing to Dulwich Hamlet last night makes him positive the club will avoid relegation.
But for a goal from Nyren Clunis after only 22 seconds, and an Erun Oztumer header at the start of the second half, the Hornets were a match for a strong Hamlet side fighting it out with Maidstone for the Ryman South title.
Connor French added Dulwich’s third, before Horsham winger Tony Nwachukwu capped a good individual display by winning and converting a penalty, beating goalkeeper Phil Wilson at the second attempt. Teenager Daniel Carr - who played for Liverpool U21s at the weekend - came off the bench to head in and make the final score 4-1.
“They are an excellent side, there’ll be a couple of those who will be pro footballers next year,” Colbran said. “But the first half I thought we were the better side. The first ten minutes they’ve come at us, but once we’ve settled I thought we were the better side.
“We were shutting people down, playing the better football. The second half we done it in spells, and I’ve just said to them you shouldn’t be down because you’re playing a team at the top of the league, they’ve got quality players out there and they’re a decent side, but we’ve done alright tonight.
“The result, 4-1 it looks bad, but you take away the first one on 20 odd seconds, and the one right after half-time, there’s nothing in it. Obviously they’re going to have chances, but we’ve had just as many chances as well. If you look at the stats I bet there’s not much in it.”
Having capitulated late on at the weekend Colbran was equally pleased with his side’s fight right to the end, saying: “They did keep going, where they didn’t at Ramsgate and that’s not acceptable.
“After this game I think to myself we’ll get out of this, and that’s what I’ve said to them. If heads had been down then I would be thinking ‘yeah we’ve thrown the towel in’, but we’ve far from thrown the towel in.
“I know it sounds silly but I really feel positive after this game. I knew it was going to be hard, no-one expected us to win really, but we didn’t let ourselves down tonight.”
Horsham are three points clear of bottom side Three Bridges with two games in hand, and two clear of Walton Casuals having played the same games.
They have nine games left to save their season, and starting with this Saturday’s visit of Hythe play four of the top six, including leaders Maidstone on the final day.
Colbran added: “I’ve looked at the fixtures and there’s four or five games we’ll look to get something out of to stay up, the other games if we get anything out of it’s a bonus. But I’m very positive we are going to.”