Horsham’s ‘brilliant’ youngsters were praised as they fought back from a goal down to see off South Park at King George’s Field on Saturday.
The 3-1 success got the Hornets back to winning ways and kept up their impressive record of never having lost a game at Park’s.
A brace from Shane Cojocarel and a Charlie Farmer goal helped them to a comfortable victory against The Sparks, who were playing their fourth game in seven days, in the Bostik League South Division.
Hornets boss Dominic Di Paola was pleased with an all-round showing and singled out his young players - with nine of the 16-man squad under-21 - for special praise.
He said: “It was a decent performance. They have played a lot of games, but it was a nice win and we were comfortable. It could have been more, but their goalkeeper made some decent saves, he was excellent for them.
“It was an all-round team performance and I said to the defence afterwards that they deserved a clean sheet, but for a mistake, which has happened a bit.
“We do like to give cheap goals away and that’s something to look at for next season.
“In literally the only mistake of the game, we got punished but that is common in this league. We played really well though and it was a very good performance with everyone playing well.
“A lot of managers like to put a focus on having a young team and we had nine in the 16 that were under-21. That’s a pretty young team and the boys were brilliant.
“Fin (Fintan Walsh), Bailie Rogers, Curtis (Gayler), they are all under-21 and it was nice to see them doing well.
“Injuries have dictated it really, but we have had a look and they have all done well at times, not every game, but you expect that at their age.
“Dean Bown came off the bench after being on-loan at Peacehaven and was impressive and Toby House came off the bench and put in his best performance in a month.”
Following a 4-2 loss at home to Walton Casuals the previous weekend, Di Paola was looking for an improved performance, but the visitors fell behind after just 15 minutes when a poor back pass by Charlie Farmer was intercepted by Jack Mazzone and the Sparks striker rounded Josh Pelling to roll into an empty net.
However, Park’s lead lasted for less than ten minutes as on-loan Hornets forward Cojocarel coolly chested home from a George Landais cross.
As South Park began to tire in the second half, the same combination earned another goal, with Cojocarel being played in by an excellent Landais pass before slotting it past Tom Miles with a composed finish.
Just after the hour mark, Landais almost added a goal to his two assists, but he saw his header from a corner come back off the crossbar.
However, Farmer was there to make the scoreline comfortable by sweeping home the rebound.
Horsham: Pelling, B.Rogers, Watson, Farmer, Walsh, Gayler, Shelley, Kirkwood, Axell, Cojocarel, Landais. Subs: House, Bown, Boswell, A.Rogers, Street.
Horsham will be looking to build on this morale boosting victory when they head to Lewes on Wednesday evening for the rearranged Sussex derby.