Horsham eye a special 2022 on and off the pitch

Manager Dominic Di Paola has outlined his Horsham hopes for 2022 – with more points and big crowds in his sights.

Friday, 7th January 2022, 12:00 pm
Horsham celebrate knocking National League Woking out of the FA Cup. Will there be more celebratory scenes in store for the Hornets in 2022? Picture by John Lines

The past 12 months have featured a mix of Hornets highs and lows.

Horsham enjoyed a fairytale FA Cup run that culminated in a 686.4 mile round trip to Football League outfit Carlisle United in November.

Di Paola’s charges saw off Haywards Heath Town, Kingstonian and higher-level Eastbourne Borough and Woking to reach the first round proper for the first time since 2007.

But, despite being roared on by a raucous travelling crowd of 280, the heroic Hornets fell to a valiant 2-0 defeat against their League Two opponents.

The 2021-22 Isthmian Premier campaign has been mixed.

The cup run coincided with a drop in league form that saw Horsham sit bottom of the table at the start of November.

But a remarkable run of form saw the Hornets record seven league wins in eight games in November and December to move well clear of the relegation zone.

With three-and-a-half months left of the current campaign, Di Paola has laid out his plans for Horsham for the remainder of the season and beyond.

He said: "We’ve just one past the halfway mark in terms of games and I’d like to get more points than we did in the first half.

"I’d like us to keep these supporters that come to our ground. We’re getting great gates at the moment.

"Attendances at Horsham are brilliant and we want to keep those people coming to games.

"It’s making a massive difference to our football club I feel. This season has been the most it’s ever felt like a proper football club.

"We’ve got a lot of support, and lots and lots of numbers coming through the gate. The supporters have been brilliant, and for me that’s probably been the highlight of the season.

"I just want to keep progressing. We haven’t finished a season at step three yet.

"We want to make sure this season’s finished and we can take stock of where we are as a step three club.

"The previous two seasons didn’t finish so we really didn’t get a chance to see where we are overall.

"This season will hopefully give us a good foundation for next season and give us a good idea of what we need to compete over 42 games in this league."

Meanwhile popular goalkeeper Sam Howes has signed a contract extension, keeping him at the Camping World Community Stadium until the end of the 2022-23 campaign.

The former West Ham United and Watford stopper has kept 10 clean sheets in 33 appearances in all competitions for the Hornets this season.

Howes tweeted: "Buzzing to have signed a contract extension with @HorshamFC. Really loving my time at this great club and looking forward to what the future holds.

"Massive shoutout to all the great fans who have made me feel at home here @LardyArmy."