A disallowed goal that Horsham felt should have stood was the main talking point as they secured an ‘about fair’ draw away to Herne Bay on Tuesday night.
The Hornets picked up a point in Kent from the 200-mile round trip that saw them clock up more than four hours’ midweek travel time.
A second-half Steve Metcalf goal was levelled up soon after by Bradley Schafer as Dominic Di Paola’s side extend their excellent Bostik League South Division run to just one loss in their last nine.
But it could have been more, with the visitors left to rue Joe Shelley’s ruled-out second-half header that they felt should have been allowed to stand with the score at 0-0.
Di Paola said: “I think probably in the end it was about fair, but we did have a perfectly-good goal disallowed. They had some chances, but we had some really good chances as well.
“Joe Shelley’s goal was a goal. There was no argument there, everyone I spoke to from both sides said it was a goal. He just got up early, but the referee said he was climbing - no-one appealed for a foul.
“The boys were excellent again. Herne Bay are a good side and should be higher in the league in my opinion.
“Our goal was a well-worked one and on the balance of play at that stage of the game, we were worthy of scoring. They came into it in the end and had a good spell.”
The game, rearranged due to FA Cup commitments earlier in the season, saw an early deflected shot from the hosts’ Danny Leonard win a corner and Joshua Wisson headed wide.
At the other end Jack Hartley had a shot blocked and Scott Kirkwood’s follow-up went just wide. A Hartley cross then almost found Dean Bown in the area, while Kirkwood shot straight at Benjamin Hunter .
Hornets keeper Brannon Daly made a good save with his legs, while Horsham’s best chance saw a deflected Kirkwood effort fly behind via the top of the crossbar.
In the second half, Daly saved a Junior Aikhionbare effort early on, before Lewis Hyde picked up a hamstring injury and was replaced.
Horsham then had a number of chances as Bown’s effort was pushed away and Kirkwood’s shot palmed behind for a corner. Shelley then headed home, but it was disallowed for arms on a defender and Bown then skimmed the bar.
Tony Nwachukwu came off the bench and was straight into the action, laying off to Metcalf, who finished from a tight angle to give the visitors a 63rd-minute lead.
After a couple of chances, Bay did equalise when Schafer collected Daly’s poorly-directed kick from an unnecessary Nwachukwu back pass, and let fly with an effort that crept in with 21 minutes left to play.
Di Paola added: “We made some substitutes in the second half and for the second game in a row, they did not really work.
“I normally pride myself on my subs, so I need to look at that. Maybe I have got it wrong or I have got the wrong information onto the pitch.”
Horsham: Daly, Metcalf, Hyde (Harris 51), Boiling, Duncan, Boswell (House 76), Shelley, Adelakun, Kirkwood, Hartley, Bown (Nwachukwu 62). Unused: MacDevitt, Street.