Horsham were on the end of a dramatic cupset as they suffered an ‘embarrassing’ defeat to a ten-man Pagham in the quarter-final of the Sussex Senior Cup.
The Lions roared into the next round after a Callum Overton brace and Dan Simmonds strike clinched a 3-0 victory at Nyetimber Lane – despite them playing an hour with just ten men.
Ryan Cox’s straight red card for an over-the-ball challenge threatened to derail their dream of an Amex final, but the Hornets failed to capitalise and their evening was summed up when James Binfield saved a Scott Kirkwood penalty with the score at 2-0.
It was a perfect performance from Pagham, who had knocked out Lewes in the previous round, and they fully-deserved their semi-final place after an outstanding display.
Horsham manager Dominic Di Paola pulled no punches and said: “Take nothing away from Pagham, they were the better team in every department and I wish them the very best – but it was embarrassing the way we played.
“I very rarely criticise our team, but we should be totally embarrassed with the way we played – that is everyone that stepped on the pitch.
“They let every one down: the supporters, the committee and that really hurts.
“We did not take them for granted, we weren’t arrogant – we knew they were a good, we just did not turn up. I think all the players should be ashamed of themselves.
“Haks (Hakeem) should have cleared in the box for the first goal, the second we left a player unmarked in the box and for the third Scott mis-directed a header straight to Dan Simmonds.
“Toby House missed a sitter at 1-0, we had other chances and we missed a penalty which would have changed the complexion of the game.
“We were shocking. We were their best player as we gifted them all their goals –even though they played well and good luck to them, they wanted to win and deserved it.”
The Lions led after eight minutes when Simmonds’ cross found Overton and he fired the ball past Josh Pelling after some questionable defending. On 20 minutes, Cox flew over the ball in a challenge and caught Jack Hartley high on the shin and was sent for an early bath.
Binfield kept Pagham ahead before the break with a couple of routine saves, before producing a fine save to tip Hartley’s curling free-kick away, while Toby House had a header cleared off the line.
On 53 minutes, Overton was quickest to react to a loose ball from a free-kick in the Horsham box and made it 2-0. Pelling then denied Simmonds, while Binfield did the save to House’s close-range effort.
The visitors were awarded a penalty with Shay Wiggins adjudged to have fouled House, but Kirkwood’s spot kick was pushed away by Binfield.
Pagham sealed their spot in the next round two minutes later with just over 20 minutes to play as a long ball fell to Simmonds and he curled home.
Horsham: Pelling, Hyde, Shelley, Adelakun, Metcalf, Hartley, Kirkwood, Tolfrey, Boswell, Nwachukwu, House. Used subs: Bown, Street, Farmer.