Evan Archibald hit a hat-trick as Horsham eased to victory against a lacklustre East Preston at Gorings Mead this afternoon.
The Hornets were in seventh heaven with a comprehensive 7-0 victory to narrow the gap on leaders Lancing to just a point - with four games in hand - at the top of the Premier Division.
Harry Smith, Joe Shelley, Darren Boswell and Tom Atkinson all chipped in with the goals in a game as one sided as the scoreline suggests.
The opener came on eight minutes as Ryan Storrie laid back to Adam Hunt on the right and his cross was met with a stooping header from Archibald which flew past a despairing dive from Ben Purkis.
Just 50 seconds later, it was 2-0 as Smith had a simple finish across goal and into the far corner when one on one.
Archibald hit his second on 14 minutes as he struck a sweet half-volley high into the net from a pin-point Mark Knee cross.
On 19 minutes, Knee whipped a dubiously-awarded free-kick over the wall, but just narrowly over the bar as EP struggled to get a touch on the ball.
The visitor’s first venture forwards see a long ball up from centre-back Jacob Atterbury put Kris Harding away and he flicked around the corner to Jake Cockerton, but he shot tamely at Gareth Williams.
Immediately back down the other end, Hunt crept in behind and his angled shot beat Purkis, only for Richard John to clear off the line.
Horsham captain Shelley made it 4-0 just past the half-hour mark as he nodded home from a Brad Lewis corner.
Just before the break, the dominant hosts went close to a fifth as Archibald’s shot was deflected narrowly wide and Smith fired just wide when arriving at the far post.
Smith should have added his second within three minutes of the second-half as substitute Boswell broke down the right and crossed, but Smith couldn’t get enough on his effort from just four yards out and Purkis collected.
Archibald then also scooped over from two yards as Charlie Farmer teed him up from a Brad Lewis free-kick, but the offside flag went halfway to sparing his blushes.
There was nowhere to hide a minute later however, as he again failed to finish another open goal from close range.
The striker then turned to assisting on the hour mark as he latched on a neat ball on the right and crossed for Boswell, who showed tidy feet to control and finish past Purkis.
Seven minutes later, substitute Aktinson got in on the act as his cross-come-shot from range was horribly fumbled into the net by Purkis.
Archibald did complete his hat-trick and it came from the penalty spot, sending Purkis the wrong way after Louis Coulson pulled back Boswell in the box.
EP’s best chance to grab a consolation saw Gareth William race out on the right and win an initial tackle, he opted to say and try and block the second attempt, the ball was shifted to Ryan Ashworth on the edge of the box, but his effort was cleared off the line.
At the other end, Shaun Charles lobbed effort was hooked off the line by John as the hosts controlled the game until the end and could have easily hit double figures.
Credit to the visitors, however, as despite being outplayed for 90 minutes, refused to resort to any underhand tactics and battled on.
Horsham: Williams, Duncan (Atkinson 60), Jones, Farmer, Knee (Boswell 45), Storrie, Hunt, Lewis, Shelley, Smith (Charles 60), Archibald. Unused ubs: Martin, Burfiend.
East Preston: Purkis, D.Coulson (Ashworth 45), Atterbury, John, Lincoln, WIlson, Smith, L.Coulson, Cockerton, Rennie, Harding (Barnard 70).
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