There will be a sigh of relief at 5.50pm on Saturday when Horsham’s season draws to a close, but there has been a bigger sigh of frustration that they have ‘limped over the line.’
That’s the view of Hornets manager Dominic Di Paola, who, only a few weeks ago, was looking at an outside chance of finishing in the top half of the Bostik League South Division.
That hope has ended and no matter the outcome of their final game on Saturday, a home clash against Whyteleafe, Horsham can finish no higher than 15th - barring a massive goal difference swing.
It will see them improve a place on last season’s finish in 16th, but while they have never flirted with relegation this season, Di Paola admits he has not liked much of what he has seen over the past few weeks.
Horsham have lost three on the bounce and won just twice in ten games and Di Paola said: “Yes, we have been comfortable in the league, but look where we were six weeks ago; we were talking about 12th as a realistic target.
“We are now going to finish 15th after what has been a bad run. In the last six weeks we have just limped over the line.
“The consistency is not good enough. When we looked at games at the start of the season, we looked at this run and thought they were games we could win and we have not won any of them. It’s very annoying.
“Over the last month we have not liked much of what we have seen.”
One problem has been a series of lengthy injuries over the season, but none more damaging than losing two of their back four of the past month.
Di Paola added: “I really think we have missed Steve Metcalf and Lewis Hyde at the back. We really haven’t stabilised defensively since we’ve lost them to injury. Alex Duncan as well.
“The back four gives you a good stable footing, but we have been letting in lots of goals recently and that needs to change next season. We need to have a look at it and start again a little bit next season as it has got to be better.”
The Horsham boss hopes they can now bow out with a win at Culver Road on Saturday to give the supporters something to cheer.
He added: “Saturday’s game is the last game of the season. I hope the boys give all that they can and it gives us a positive result, regardless of the performance. We can then draw a line under the season.
“Hopefully there will be a few supporters there and it would be nice to finish the season on a high.”