Di Paola: Player commitment and availability must improve next season

Horsham FC v Godalming FC.  26.12.16  Pic Steve Robards   SR1637390 SUS-161226-193826001
Horsham FC v Godalming FC. 26.12.16 Pic Steve Robards SR1637390 SUS-161226-193826001

Horsham manager Dominic Di Paola has said player commitment must improve next season as his depleted side fell to their fourth straight defeat on Saturday.

Both injuries and availability have been a problem in recent weeks which has coincided with their eight-game unbeaten run in the South Division of the Ryman League ending.

It has swung the other way since and Saturday’s 3-1 loss at 16th-placed Whyteleafe means they haven’t tasted victory for a month.

The Hornets were forced to make three signings ahead of the game with Di Paola’s thread-bare squad at breaking point, he brought in forwards Ashley-Paul Robinson and Liam Wright along with midfielder James Thurgar.

They made little difference on Saturday, when, having held on to ensure the scores were level at the break, Leafe opened the scoring in the 55th minute when Shawn Clement-Peter struck past Josh Pelling and then, just two minutes later, Scott Day nodded home a deep free-kick.

Horsham earned, and converted, a penalty through Scott Kirkwood midway through the second half to get themselves back in the game.

A goalkeeping howler from Pelling restored Whyteleafe’s two-goal cushion, when he fumbled a catch from a corner backwards into his own net.

Di Paola said: “It’s disappointing as we were poor. We have been poor for four games, but I was disappointed with the nature of the defeat on Saturday.

“We went a goal behind and did not have much about us at all. We scored and got it back to 2-1 and looked like we were in the ascendency.

“They were panicking and I thought maybe we might get something out of it, but then gave another stupid goal away. The boys just seem to have gone off the boil a little.

“We are missing players and not just injuries, but them being unavailable and choosing to do other things. There is not the commitment there and having to chop and change things does not help.

“When players are not playing all the time, they pick up knocks as they have not got that consistency. We can’t address it now or change that, but it’s something we are going to have to look at next season.”

Horsham: Pelling, Duncan, Clark, Hyde, Metcalf, Lawley, Branford, Kirkwood, Harris (Robinson 61), Nwachukwu, Wright (Rogers 58). Unused: Jones.