The champagne's on ice all set for Horsham's promotion party

The champagne is on ice and all set for a promotion party at Gorings Mead on Saturday.

Friday, 15th April 2016, 2:00 pm
Eastbourne Utd V Horsham FC 9/4/16 - Horsham score their first goal (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-161004-162330008

Horsham all-but clinched the Premier Division title on Tuesday night as they moved to within a point of mathematically sealing the crown at the first attempt.

But even if they lose their remaining two games. Eastbourne Town would have to win both and turn around a 29-goal swing.

The champions are elect.

Horsham captain Joe Shelley lifts the title at East Preston two years ago

A 3-0 midweek win at lowly Hailsham Town - the side they face a return clash with on Saturday - all but clinched it.

That was after victory from a tough encounter at Eastbourne United on Saturday put them to within four points of a return to the Ryman League.

A sentence that will be joyous to read to the Horsham faithful after a difficult last campaign.

It’s been a season to savour - arguably the first since the days of John Maggs - after two relegations in the previous four seasons as they dropped from the Ryman Premier.

Horsham captain Joe Shelley lifts the title at East Preston two years ago

Manager Dominic Di Paola has revealed he believes he has their shock 5-4 defeat to Eastbourne Town to thank for their stellar form in the season’s climax.

He said: “The defeat to Eastbourne Town might have been a blessing. It reminded the lads it was not straight forward.

“Some things seem to have improved. As a team they have come together and as a group they are a lot closer.

“We were five points adrift with a game in hand, but have hit a bit of form at the right time.

“I think that game reminded us a bit what was at stake. It was pure frustration after that game as we were 3-1 up and threw it away. We all took our eyes off the ball, me, Browner (Ian Browne - assistant), everyone.

“It was poor management as we should have seen the game out, I learned from it. In the Broadbridge Heath game we couldn’t have done anymore.

“After that game I said to the boys they have to believe about winning it and to be fair to them, they have kept plugging away and the attitude has been brilliant.

“They have really come together and that’s not down to me, that’s them.”

And although Di Paola has been reluctant to look at the table for the past few weeks - even he has sneaked a look now. On if Saturday will be a party atmosphere, he added: “I hope so. We can get it done there which is great.

“Theoretically, Eastbourne Town need to do something incredible to win it now.

“But we want to reach it in our own right, we do not want to have to rely on them or the goal difference.

“I hope we can get it done at home. I am really pleased, pleased for the club.”

Southern Comination League chairman Steve Nealgrove has also confirmed they will in attendance to present the trophy if Horsham do get over the line.

Club officials are expecting a large crowd on Saturday and the car park is likely to fill quickly. Supporters are advised to arrive early.

An exciting day is expected with the player of the season awards also being handed out at full-time.

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