Horsham boss delights in reaction from super sub Smith
Dominic Di Paola was delighted with the ‘brilliant’ reaction from super sub Chris Smith in Saturday’s rollercoaster draw with Bishop’s Stortford.
The Hornets were 3-1 down and staring down the barrel of a second successive league loss before Smith’s introduction on 75 minutes.
But the substitute needed just seven minutes to make his mark on the game. Smith rocketed a 25-yard shot home to spark Horsham’s revival.
Rob O’Toole’s penalty in stoppage time salvaged a point for the Hornets, and extended their unbeaten home run to four games.
Di Paola said: “It was probably the perfect game for him because we were chasing the game and we had nothing to lose.
“Those kind of shots he doesn’t normally take, because it’s not his game, but it was a great finish.
“He agreed with us in lots of ways that he hadn’t been at his best but the reaction from him has been really good.
“I love to see a reaction from players and that was a brilliant one from him.”
Smith is Horsham’s top goalscorer this campaign, having netted 17 in 31 appearances in all competitions.
But before Saturday, the Hornets marksman last found the net on November 9 – a hat-tick in a 4-0 home win over Potters Bar Town.
The forward was last named in the Horsham starting line-up on New Year’s Day in the 3-0 home win over Lewes, before he was benched for the next five games.
Di Paola admitted Smith’s 77-day barren run led to the forward being taken out of ‘the firing line’.
But the Horsham boss praised Smith’s attitude while he was out of the side.
Di Paola added: “Sometimes you have to come out of the firing line and he was out of form.
“I think he’d be the first one to hold his hands up and accept the fact that he hasn’t been playing great.
“But he looked really good in training. He seemed to have a spring in his step again.
“That’s the attitude and approach you want from your players.
“When they’re not in the best of form you want them to show they want to be in the side.
“He’s not moaned or made a fuss. But I’d expect nothing less because he’s a great lad.”