Horsham were satisfied with a ‘fair point’ away against Bostik League South Division play-off chasers Hythe Town on Saturday.
The Hornets returned from Kent against The Cannons with a 1-1 draw and holding onto 12th place in the standings.
The visitors led after just two minutes as Alfie Rogers’ shot produced a goalkeeping howler from Hythe stopper Will Godmon.
A fine dipping free kick Darren Oldaker then levelled for the hosts just before the half-hour mark and despite Hythe being reduced to ten-men with a straight red card to Chris Kinnear in the second half, that is how the score remained.
That was in part thanks to a couple of decent stops from Hornets keeper Josh Pelling, including a late save to deny Hythe a winner.
Di Paola said: “It was a fair point. We played well in spells and they played well in spells as well. I was quite pleased with the performance.
“We had three good chances after we took the lead and we really should have taken them.
“They scored a good free kick in fairness to them through their guy, who is on loan from Gillingham and a really good player.
“They had their tails up going into half-time and having played against the wind, we were looking forward to going with it in the second half and putting them under pressure, but had it died down.
“After the sending off we thought we might take the game to them, but in that 13 minutes we had two blood injuries, so there were only eight minutes when we had 11 players on the pitch.
“We had a couple of good chances to win but they could have scored right at the end, but for a good save from Pells.
“It’s a good result, they are bang in form, have good players, who I would think are on a few quid, and are chasing the play-offs.”
Hythe, who Horsham beat 2-1 in November, went into the clash having scored nine goals in their last two matches which saw victories against Shoreham and Hastings.
Horsham included new addition Ryan Worrall, signed from Tonbridge Angels, in their starting line-up, while recent recruit Bailie Rogers was on the bench.
And they led early on as Alfie Rogers’ effort from the edge of the box was by inexplicably dropped Godman and ended up in the net.
At the other end, Pelling tipped over a Ryan Palmer wind-assisted cross, before Toby House’s curler crashed off the bar in the opposite box.
The hosts levelled on 29 minutes as Oldaker’s cracking free kick curled into the Horsham goal. Pelling was then on call to keep the scores level at the break with a fine stop from a header.
Hythe continued to cause problems, but while under pressure, Horsham kept out the home side. In the 77th minute, Kinnear was brandished a straight red card for a tackle on Kirkwood that required the midfielder to be replaced by Darren Boswell.
Lewis Hyde headed a chance for a winner wide, while Hythe substitute Michael Turner produced a wonder save from Pelling late on.
On Kinnear’s red card, Di Paola said: “I think it was a sending off from the nature of the challenge. I do not think for one minute that he meant it. It was miss-timed and he caught Kirky. He has stud marks up by his groin and I think the referee probably got it right.
“Tackling has changed and the way the world is now and football is now, it’s touch and go. It was a reckless tackle, but there was no intent there at all.”
Horsham: Pelling, Street (Metcalf 46), Hyde, Farmer, Worral, A.Rogers, Shelley, Kirkwood (Boswell 77), Landais (Nwachukwu 68), Tolfrey, House.