Goals from Jordan Clarke and Gabriel Odunaike condemned Horsham to a second successive Bostik League defeat, as manager Dominic Di Paola pointed to clinical finishing proving the difference.
Promotion-chasing Corinthian Casuals’ 2-0 success meant the Hornets slipped to 14th in the South Division, while their hosts climbed up to third.
After questioning the attitude of his players after their Sussex Senior Cup loss to Pagham, Hornets boss Paola was pleased with his side’s response and effort.
He said: “If we had played like that on Tuesday then we would have won. They were just more clinical than us.
“We had a similar amount of chances but they had that killer edge. That’s why they’re in the play-offs.
“You’ve just got to be at it in every game, we’ve always got a positive morale and we’re a good group. Apart from the Pagham game, I’ve been quite happy with how the boys have been playing.
“We’ve got to try and target as high of a finish as possible and get as many points as we can”.
The visitors started brightly as George Landais collected a poor goal kick, however his powerful drive flew narrowly wide. Hamilton Antonio then had a great chance for the hosts, but he could only head off target when well placed.
After some dogged defending, the visitors had another chance to take the lead, as Josh Street and Joe Shelley exchanged passes before the former found Landais, whose low strike whistled just wide.
Horsham’s failure to convert their early chances would prove costly, as the hosts took the lead on 24 minutes. Odunaike’s cross found Clarke, who dispatched a curling shot into the top corner.
Casuals’ second came just ten minutes later as Max Oldham’s deflected pass found Odunaike, who had the simple tap in. The goal came with a touch of controversy however, as Horsham were adamant that their former player was in an offside position.
The second half followed a similar pattern, as Curtis Gayler’s tame effort was comfortably held by Danny Bracken. Shelley then saw his speculative effort fly over, before Tom Tolfrey had a great chance to halve the deficit, but could only shoot straight at Bracken when well placed.
Ben Cheklit had a great chance to kill the game off, but his fierce strike cannoned off the crossbar. Toby House had a final chance to grab a consolation for the Hornets, but his shot was blocked away.
Horsham: Pelling, Hyde, Watson, Shelley, Metcalf, Gayler (Boswell 58), Tolfrey, Axell, Street (Rogers 66), Nwachukwu, Landais (House 79). Unused: Bown, Adelakun.