Di Paola hails 'brilliant' first-half display against Ware in FA Trophy and his take on controversial penalty

Horsham manager Dominic Di Paola. Picture by Derek Martin
Horsham manager Dominic Di Paola. Picture by Derek Martin

Horsham manager Dominic Di Paola hailed a 'brilliant' first-half display that set-up up their progression in the FA Trophy on Saturday.

A Charlie Harris brace helped the Hornets ease into the first qualifying round of the competition with a comfortable victory over Ware at Culver Road.

The midfielder netted a goal in each half in a man-of-the-match performance after Will Hoare had opened the scoring against their Bostik League South Central Division visitors.

Harris' first came from a questionable penalty on the stroke of half-time and while Ware pulled one back through half-time substitute Dom Njoya with 15 minutes to play, a red card for Jack Daveney killed off any faint chances of a comeback.

It saw the hosts pocket £3,000 in prize money and a place in the hat for Monday's first qualifying round draw, where they received another home tie against division-higher Corinthian Casuals.

Di Paola said: "I thought in the first half we were brilliant, we dominated possession and dominated the ball really well. In the second half, some of the affects of Tuesday's efforts came into play and we looked a bit tired and leggy.

"In saying that, we had five or six good opportunities and good openings we didn't take. There were also quite a lot of positives to come out of the game. Lewis (Hyde) and Harvey Sparks got 90 minutes and Chris Smith got 20 at the end, which is a real bonus because we weren't expecting him to be ready.

"We were good for the win and good to go in with a 2-0 half-time lead. That gave us a platform in the second half. We are through to the next round of an important competition where we have got another £3,000 in the bank."

On Horsham's penalty on the stroke of half-time when Ware centre-back Louis Rose was penalised for a push on Steve Metcalf despite touching the ball with both feet.

The Ware players and management were furuous with the decision, but Di Paola commented: "From where I was, it looked a penalty as the lad has played offside and ball watched.

"He has tried to make amends and pushed Mets (Steve Metcalf) as he has gone past him, it looked like a penalty. I thought it was a sloppy bit of defending and he's gone past him, so it's not even a shoulder barge, I think it was a penalty.

"To be fair, we haven't had one this year and had six or seven guilt-edged one of the 16 games we have played so far, so we were due one as well."

The Horsham boss wasn't too dissatisfied with conceding in the second half and added: "Dylan for me was the stand-out one at the back. It is what it is, it's a cup game and we never keep clean sheets anyway so there isn't much change there. It was a bit sloppy and tired at times, but fair play to them, they are trying to stay in the competition and thrown people forward and we have not tracked someone on a loose ball.

"The only thing I was a bit disappointed with was in the last five minutes when we kept turning the ball over where we got greedy as we were all trying to score.

"It's a bit needless, let's manage the game and get through to the next round. We do not need to win by 7-0, we need to win by the scoreline we are at. If you go with that mindset you probably will score those extra goals anyway."