Dominic Di Paola believes Horsham are ‘going in the right direction’ after they ran out 4-1 winners over Hartley Wintney in an historic pre-season friendly on Saturday.
In the Hornets’ first-ever game at The Camping World Community Stadium, play-off hero Dylan Merchant once again wrote his name in folklore as he rifled home Horsham’s first ever goal at their new home.
Tayo Obelayo equalised for the Row before half-time but second half goals from new boys Zack Newton and Malachi Hudson (two) secured a comfortable pre-season victory for the Yellow and the Greens.
On the game Di Paola said: “It was a bit up and down during the course of the game. We wanted to try a few things out and get a bit more sharpness into players legs after two or three months off.
“It’s just a bit of a process pre-season but we’re going in the right direction.
“The main positive from Saturday’s game was that we looked a fair bit sharper than Tuesday (against Steyning Town) and I think we just played better football really.”
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The Hornets have also been boosted by influential defender Joe Shelley committing to the club for the 2019/20 season.
Di Paola was full of praise for Shelley, underlining his ‘calming presence’ and leadership within the squad.
The Horsham boss added: “Like I’ve said before, we just wanted to keep as many of the team as we could from last year.
“We always wanted him with us really. He’s a great lad and a good solid defender now.
“There’s not many with more experience given his age. He’s played a lot of games and he’s a calming presence.
“I think Joe helps one or two of the other boys with their games so we’re really pleased he’s staying.”
The Hornets welcome BetVictor South East side Haywards Heath Town to The Camping World Community Stadium this (Tuesday) evening (7.45pm).