Horsham were ‘worthy winners’ in Guernsey on Saturday as they made the home side sweat on their Ryman League safety.
The Hornets made the short flight over to face the Channel Islanders backed by a healthy band of supporters and goals from Darren Boswell, Tom Lawley and Steve Metcalf secured the points.
The hosts had taken the lead and set up a nervy finale with a late second, but failed to find the point they needed to beat the drop.
Hornets boss Dominic Di Paola said: “I thought we played well. The first half wasn’t great, although we should have had a penalty within the first five minutes which would have changed the way the game went.
“Some of the football was really good after that and in the second half we came out and played well. I think we were worthy of the win although the last ten minutes we were under the cosh.
“We did well as we were delayed for an hour and 40 minutes on the way there and an hour on the way back. It was a nice day with the weather, but would have been a depressing one if we had lost, lucky the boys did the business.”
On Guernsey, he added: “I think they are safe anyway as they have three games and need just a point.
Horsham started well as Metcalf curled just wide, Tony Nwachukwu was denied a penalty after going down in the box and Scott Kirkwood’s free kick was held by Leroi Riley. But the hosts were ahead on 12 minutes as Craig Young’s cross was headed home at the far post by Dom Heaume.
Nwachukwu’s bicycle kick flew over the bar and Riley then parried another Kirkwood free kick. Heaume then spurned a fine chance to double his side’s lead in the 25th minute as he headed over the bar.
At the other end, Nwachukwu went through one-on-one against Riley, but despite taking the ball past the Guernsey shot-stopper, he was unable to capitalise due to a tight angle and the pass to Lawley was blocked.
On the stroke of half-time, Horsham levelled from a counter attack. Nwachukwu and Boswell combined well before Lawley was fed to apply the finish.
At the start of the second half, a Kirkwood shot was cleared off the line, before an indirect free kick was rolled sideways to Boswell, whose 20-yarder went in via the post.
Josh Pelling then made a great double save, before Horsham grabbed a two-goal cushion on the hour mark as Metcalf bent home from 25 yards.
Riley denied James Thurgar, Lawley hit the post and Kirkwood was also kept out by a save. Guernsey did set up a tense finale as Jacob Fallaize headed down a free kick and Ross Allen forced the ball home with four minutes to play.
The hosts also then had Sam Cochrane shown a second yellow late on as he fouled Nwachukwu, who was trying to shield the ball in the corner.
Horsham: Pelling, Duncan, Hyde (Harris), Jones, Farmer, Metcalf, Clark, Kirkwood (Rogers), Boswell (Thurgar 68), Lawley, Nwachukwu.