Horsham manager Dominic Di Paola blasted the referee for an ‘abysmal display’ after his side drew at home to Leatherhead on the opening day of the BetVictor Premier Division season.
The visitors took the lead when Eddie Dsane converted a controversial penalty before Rob O’Toole poked in an equaliser just before half-time.
A battling second-half saw chances aplenty for both sides and O’Toole came within inches from grabbing a stoppage time winner when his bullet header crashed off the bar.
Despite picking up a point, Di Paola was unhappy with the performance from the match officials. He said: “It was absolutely abysmal. I can’t remember a refereeing performance as bad since the county league days to be honest. It was the same for both sides, but I cannot explain what he was seeing.”
On top of the penalty call, Di Paola was left fuming after the referee awarded Zack Newton a booking for simulation midway through the second-half.
He continued: “Zak was clearly fouled, I looked at the linesman and even he was shocked that the referee had gone and booked him.”
READ MORE Horsham 1 Leatherhead 1: Hornets pick up point on Premier Division return | Punjab United 0 Broadbridge Heath 1: Bears advance to the preliminary round for the first time | 'No panic' at Horsham YMCA after successive losses
But Di Paola didn’t believe it cost Horsham all three points. He said: “A draw was definitely a fair result as we didn’t do enough to win. I don’t think the referee cost us the game.
“The positive from our side is that there’s room for improvement. Our passing game can go up a couple of notches and, once we get more into the season, that will be apparent.”
Hosting their first home competitive game since 2008, Horsham recorded the league’s highest weekend attendance with over 700 fans packing inside The Camping World Community Stadium and Di Paola praised the support.
He said: “It’s brilliant. I just really want people to keep coming back and show their support. Hopefully we can get some more (fans), work on building the atmosphere and create more noise, but it is a brilliant place to watch football.”
Horsham travel to Bognor Regis Town tomorrow (Tuesday) evening, (7.45pm) before venturing to Enfield Town this Saturday in what will be the first ever league meeting between the clubs.