Horsham manager Dominic Di Paola felt his side lacked a bit of magic in the final third of the pitch as they fell to a narrow defeat at Phoenix Sports on Saturday.
Danny Young’s third minute goal was enough to give his side a 1-0 success and inflict the Hornets with just their second defeat in ten Bostik League South Division matches.
It was a rare off day for Horsham in what was the first-ever competitive meetings between the two sides and they failed to carve out any real clear-cut changes in the 90 minutes in South London.
Di Paola said: “It was quite a well-worked corner that they scored from and then had a couple more chances, but it was a bit of a nothing game, really. We just did not really create anything.
“They were just about worthy winners. If you do not create a lot in a game, you run the risk of always conceding. In the final third we lacked a bit of quality.
“Again, I cannot knock the work rate or effort. The performance in the second half saw us knocking on the door, but nothing had that real bit of quality. If we had scored early in the second half, I could definitely have seen us going on to win the game, but we didn’t. We have to draw a line under it and move on.”
Horsham trailed from the Sports’ first attack. They were caught out defensively from a corner with three minutes not yet on the clock and Young headed home.
A low Charlie Farmer cross was knocked on towards goal by Young, but one-time Horsham goalkeeper Steve Phillips collected the ball.
Christie Pattisson then broke down the wing and cut inside and fired towards goal, but Brannon Daly’s legs blocked away the shot.
Horsham were having little luck in the final third, while at the other end, Jeff Duah-Kessie’s volleyed shot was blocked. Horsham’s best came a minute before the interval as Conrad Lee prodded the ball towards his own net, forcing Phillips to palm away for a corner.
In the second half, Horsham looked more threatening as Kirkwood and Darren Boswell both went close.
The hosts then hit the woodwork as Tony Robinson’s shot canoed back off the bar, before Boswell again put wide at the other end.
A Daly save then denied Kweku Ansah as he raced forward and got away his shot at the second attempt, before Pattisson fired wide late on.
Di Paola added: “It’s just a bit of quality on the day was not there. We could do with a goalscorer, if we got one all of a sudden we probably look a lot move dangerous. Toby House and Dean Bown have done well and got a few, but sometimes you need someone that can create something out of nothing. Rob O’Toole was brilliant at that.
“Toby and Dean are both 19 and learning the game and have done really well. But a centre-forward with a bit more experience would bring us on a bit, although there is no-one in the pipeline.”
Horsham: Daly, Duncan (Street 84), Boiling, Hyde, Farmer, Hartley, Kirkwood, Shelley, Adelakun (MacDevitt 80), Boswell, Bown (61). Unused: Axell, Newhouse.