Horsham move to within one win of all-but sealing play-off spot with Sevenoaks victory

Horsham v Sevenoaks. Rob O'Toole rounds the goalkeeper to slot away his second goal. Picture by John Lines
Horsham v Sevenoaks. Rob O'Toole rounds the goalkeeper to slot away his second goal. Picture by John Lines

Horsham moved to within one win of all-but securing a Bostik League South East Division play-off play as they eased to a 3-1 victory against Sevenoaks Town on Saturday.

In their penultimate home game at Culver Road, goals from Rob O’Toole (two) and Chris Smith set the Hornets on the road to victory, before a late consolation from Adrian Stone.

It moved Dominic Di Paola’s third-placed side onto 62 points, level on points with second-placed Hastings United - both who have four games to play.

Ashford United are a point further back and Haywards Heath, who lost 3-0 to sixth placed VCD Athletic have 56 points.

All three of those sides have five games left to play and VCD could still mathematically level Horsham’s current point tally of 62 - although have a inferior goal difference of 20.

On the win, Di Paola said: “We started sloppy and gave away early possession which let them in and they probably should have scored.

“Then, to be fair, up until the 80th minute we were brilliant. They had minimal chances, minimal shots and we dominated the ball and created really good chances.

“Given that, it could have been very different and we have got to be mindful that we have started badly in the last four or five games.”

On almost sealing a play-off place, the manager commented: “It’s really good. We just have to keep going and each week focus on the next Saturday, that seems to be the right approach. There is still quite a lot of football to be played.”

The hosts were unlucky not to trail in the second minute when the Oaks’ Lauris Chin had his effort save by Josh Pelling and the follow-up from Ryan Fowler hit the post and after that two shots were blocked on the line.

The Hornets soon took control and took the lead in the 21st minute when a ball in from Lee Harding saw Joe Shelley nod back across goal and O’Toole put the ball away with a diving header.

Horsham’s Chris Smith then missed a penalty shortly before half time after Kieran Hughes was penalised for a pull-back in the area.

The hosts needed just three minutes in the second half to double their advantage. Smith atoned for his earlier miss by slotting in low down through the legs of goalkeeper Ben Bridle-Card.

Tyrell Richardson-Brown’s defence-splitting pass allowed O’Toole to rush in and round the Oaks shot-stopper for his second, and Horsham’s third on 64 minutes.

Sevenoaks did grab a consolation goal with just minutes left to play through substitute Stone as The Hornets got sloppy late on.

Horsham: Pelling, Metcalf, Shelley, Merchant-Simmons, Sparks, Hayward, Brivio (Lovegrove 67), Harding (Kirkwood 75), Richardson-Brown, O’Toole, Smith (Hogan 67). Unused: Miles, Taylor.