Horsham got back to winning ways in the Southern Combination Premier Division with a 2-0 win against AFC Uckfield Town on Saturday.
An early goal from Terry Dodd and late strike from defender Ashley Jones was enough for the Hornets to bounce back from their first league defeat of the season against Eastbourne Town and cup exit against Haywards Heath midweek.
Manager Dominic Di Paola was pleased to get back on the winning trail, he said: “It was just a slow game really. It was not by a long stretch that attacking, but there was a bit of nervousness because of the last couple of results we have had.
“I felt pretty confident through it and never felt to troubled and it’s nice to get the three points as it does not look like anyone will slip up at the moment.
“I didn’t start Kieron Pamment or Darren Boswell, we made that mistake with Kev Keehan in rushing him back. The players do not see it like that, but I don’t want to run the risk of them getting injured again if they are not fully fit.
“They are never happy about it but I have got to try and get a team out each week. We have barely played our full-strength side how it has panned out, which is not ideal.
“It’s nice to have a Tuesday off and a rest, we have had 23 games so far and I have never known a season like it.”
Former Hornet John Kirby was in the away dugout in temporary charge after Steve Ives resigned last week and he saw his side get off to a bad start.
They found themselves behind after just six minutes as Arron Hopkinson played in Terry Dodd with a through ball and he calmly placed past Nick Collick.
Uckfield had a chance to level straight away as Gareth Williams’ punched clearance fell to Elliot Wood at the edge of the area, but his lobbed shot went just wide.
At the other end, a deep cross from Adam Hunt dropped to Hopkinson, but his header was prevent from going in by a sprawling diving save form Collick.
AFC felt they should have had a penalty before the break as Ashley Jones tackle took on Jonathan Hamson after he cut in from the byline, but despite appearing to be in the box, referee Jamie Wells deemed the foul to have occurred outside, much to the Uckfield bench and players’ frustration.
After the break, Drew Greenall’s shot from 20 yards flew over the bar and he was unlucky not to score from another chance on the hour mark.
Nathan Crabb fired across the goalmouth before Collick prevented a well-hit Mark Knee free-kick from finding the net, while soon after Hopkinson fired into the side netting.
With ten minutes remaining, Crabb hit a curling shot from 20 yards that went just wide and Hopkinson was disposed in the box by Hampson’s excellent sliding challenge.
In added-time, centre-back provided the gloss on the scoreline when his cross hit the inside of the post and against Collick and was signalled to have crossed the line by the assistant referee.
Horsham: Williams, Knee, Jones, Farmer, Hunt, Clark, Shelley, Lewis (Boswell), Hopkinson, Dodd, Archibald (Crabb). Subs: Pamment, Chadwick, Duncan.
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