Horsham stroll to FA Cup victory despite less than ideal playing conditions

Horsham's Chris Smith struck twice against Tower Hamlets. Picture by Steve Robards
Horsham's Chris Smith struck twice against Tower Hamlets. Picture by Steve Robards

Horsham romped to a 6-1 FA Cup preliminary round victory at Tower Hamlets on Saturday and manager Dominic Di Paola admitted that ‘he hardest thing was dealing with the facility up there’.

The Hornets held a 3-0 lead at the break through goals from Will Miles and Chris Smith (two). Hamlets reduced the deficit thanks to Yoan Marc-Oliver, but further goals from Zack Newton, an own goal, and Jazz Rance sealed Horsham’s passage to the next round.

The Hornets will travel to Southern League Premier Division South side Metropolitan Police in the first qualifying round of the competition. First round qualifying ties will take place over the weekend of September 6-9.

Di Paola said: “It was a good professional performance. In the second half we dropped down another couple of gears and were just able to be comfortable and not exert ourselves too much.

“The hardest thing was dealing with the facility up there. No disrespect to them as a football club, but I’m amazed they’re allowed to enter the FA Cup.

“It was just a leisure centre. We turned up and there was no real info on where to go and we were moved around between different changing rooms. No one really told us anything.

“I think they were also trying to get some shot put holes filled. That was quite hard to deal with along with the heat.”

READ MORE Horsham enjoy Bank Holiday win at Lewes - picture special | Horsham's unbeaten start 'means nothing at this stage' | Horsham YMCA and Broadbridge Heath claim first wins of the season while Loxwood and Alfold suffer defeat - SCFL midweek round-up

The Hornets opened the scoring on 15 minutes as Miles leapt highest to head home from a cross.

Horsham then made it 2-0 on 26 minutes. Miles turned provider as his quick pass into the area found Smith. The Hornets forward sliced his attempt but the ball found the bottom corner,

The visitors tripled the advantage on the stroke of half-time. Kieran Lavery’s curled shot was well saved by Hamlets’ keeper but Smith was on hand to nod home the rebound.

Marc-Oliver pulled one back on 70 minutes before Newton made it 4-1 after the host’s keeper took his eye off the ball and the wingers’ gentle nudge trickled into the goal.

Newton then blasted the ball at Hamlets defender Alan Zuqolli, forcing an own goal for the fifth on 80 minutes.

Newton made it a hat-trick of assists as he laid the ball off to Rance who blasted home on 87 minutes.

Horsham: Bentley, Metcalf, Sparks, Harris (Rance 57), Mills, Miles (Shelley 46), Kelly, Dawson, Lavery, Smith (O’Toole 57), Newton. Unused: Hayward, James.