Horsham boss Dominic Di Paola praised his team’s attitude as the Hornets picked up a 2-1 away win over Bury Town in the extra preliminary round of the FA Trophy on Saturday.
The two sides met eleven years ago when the Hornets ran out 3-2 winners on their famous cup run, and goals from Rob O’Toole and Tyrell Richardson-Brown ensured Horsham got the better of Bury once again despite a late Ollie Hughes goal.
Di Paola said: “We asked the boys to dig deep as some of them have not played as much football as others and they were excellent.
“I was pleased with us all game. We limited their chances and we hit the post and hit the crossbar twice.
“They’re a really good bunch of lads. They’re very honest and hard working and they do their absolute best for us.
“That’s all you can ever ask for really so I’ve been really impressed with the attitude from all the lads.”
With both sides trading blows in the opening quarter, Lewis Hyde was forced off with a head injury after a collision with Blues ‘keeper Luis Tibbles.
Dean Lovegrove was sent on to replace him and his header moments later resulted in a handball appeal which was ignored by the referee.
Josh Pelling made a great save to deny the host’s Tanner Call before both O’Toole and Joe Shelley hit the woodwork as the half came to a close.
With the game finely poised it took the Hornets just two minutes after the break to go ahead. Richardson-Brown sped down the wing and slid in O’Toole to put the visitors ahead.
O’Toole could have doubled the score minutes later but his effort hit the stanchion.
Despite Horsham being in the ascendancy, Pulling made a superb save to keep out Ryan Horne’s 25-yard effort.
Bury began to throw everything at the visitors but, with six minutes of added time shown, Richardson-Brown put the game to bed on 92 minutes as he fired home to put them two up.
The hosts did grab a consolation goal on 97 minutes through Hughes but there was little time for a Bury comeback as the Hornets secured the win and £2,000 in prize money.
Despite victory, Horsham suffered a number of injuries and Di Paola branded them ‘a headache’.
He added: “Chris Smith had to pull out just before kick off as his knee wasn’t right, then we lost Lewis, and then we lost Rob through concussion.
“We’ve also got Lee Harding missing and they’re all a loss when they don’t play so it’s a headache for us.”
Horsham take on Phoenix Sports at home in the league on Tuesday before hosting Southern League Premier South side Poole Town in the FA Cup, third qualifying round on Saturday.
Horsham: Pelling, Metcalf, Taylor, Shelley, Hyde (Lovegrove 16’), Merchant, Hoare (Hayward 61’), O’Toole (Sparks 68’), Harris, Brivio, Richardson-Brown. Unused: McElligott, Smith.