Horsham manager blasts referee as Hornets share points with Cray Wanderers

Horsham FC v Leatherhead FC. Dominic Di Paola. Pic Steve Robards SR1920003
Horsham FC v Leatherhead FC. Dominic Di Paola. Pic Steve Robards SR1920003

Dominic Di Paola blasted a ‘shocking’ referee performance after Horsham and Cray Wanderers shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw on a fractious Tuesday night at The Camping World Community Stadium.

Lea Dawson headed in the opener after a subdued opening half hour but Jay Leader pulled the visitors level just two minutes later.

The result sees the Hornets maintain second in the BetVictor Premier Division.

In a game which saw eight yellow cards, shared evenly between the two sides, Horsham manager Di Paola thought the referee failed to keep control.

Di Paola said: “It was absolutely shocking. For both teams.

“Whether he just had a bad game or not, I don’t know, but he got so many decisions wrong for both sides.

“There wasn’t a bad tackle in the game.”

Di Paola also felt the point was a fair result. He added: “They had the better chances but on the balance of play I think it was about fair.

“We were really poor for the first 20 minutes but we got our act together and in the second half I thought we were the dominant side.”

After a quiet start to the first half, the match sprung into life on 35 minutes as Dawson hauled the Hornets in front.

Pulling away from Tom Phipp, he latched on to Charlie Harris’ floated free-kick at the back post before steering a firm header past Lewis Carey.

The hosts’ lead lasted all of two minutes before Cray restored parity. Mitchell Nelson knocked Tom Murphy’s deep corner back into the six-yard box where Leader managed to fire in his second goal of the season.

Horsham began the second-half far stronger with Zack Newton curling a low strike narrowly wide before Harris unleashed a swirving long-range effort which was nervously pushed away by Carey.

The Wands spurned one final opportunity to take the lead in the 75th minute as Joe Taylor beat the offside trap to go through on goal. But, with only George Bentley to beat, Taylor’s lifted ball over the onrushing Horsham keeper dropped narrowly wide.

Horsham: Bentley, O’Sullivan, Sparks, Kelly, Shelley, Merchant, O’Toole (Harding 74’), Dawson, Smith (Mills 87’), Harris (Brivio 82’), Newton. Unused: Metcalf, Pamment.