Horsham’s derby double delight over Lewes gives perfect start to new year

Horsham FC v Chatham 12-11-16 Lewis Hyde. Pic Steve Robards SR1634002 SUS-161114-125037001
Horsham FC v Chatham 12-11-16 Lewis Hyde. Pic Steve Robards SR1634002 SUS-161114-125037001

Horsham clinched the double over Lewes as they capped a fine festive period and started the New Year in scintillating style at the Dripping Pan on Monday.

Goals from Lewis Hyde and another George Branford stunner sealed a 2-1 victory over their Ryman League South Division play-off chasing Sussex rivals.

The victory saw the Hornets clinch ten points from their last possible 12 and build on the bragging rights that they first claimed with a 3-0 win over the East Sussex outfit back in August.

The Hornets led 2-0 at half-time and although a Jonte Smith overhead 12 minutes from time set up a nervy finish, they held out for their tenth win of the campaign.

Horsham boss Dominic Di Paola was delighted with the victory and said: “It was a great display an we really raised our game, it just makes me really annoyed about dropping points in the Molesey game.

“We had a game plan and stuck to it really well and when we do that we are not a bad side. I was really pleased with them all. I think the thing is with this league is who is up for it most on the day and confidence.

“We played Dorking Wanderers and they thumped us, but before that we were on a four-game winning run, we were doing quite well, but then had massive problems with player availability.

“We played five of the top six or seven then and got beat and it drained the confidence out of us.

“The thing that kicked us to this spell was a little bit of a flukey win against Herne Bay in a game where they was no skill or anything, but you need that to put you on another run again.

“It goes to show that we went to Ramsgate and lost and played very badly, but went away to a good side like Lewes, who are flying and targeting the play-offs and played really well.”

In a feisty encounter that saw 11 yellow cards, the visitors led in the 23rd minute as a Scott Kirkwood corner was met by a powerful header from Hyde from close range.

Horsham doubled their lead with eight minutes of the half remaining as George Branford turned and struck a thunderous shot from 30 yards that sailed past Adria Fernandez.

Before the break, Lewes tried to hit back as Charlie Farmer put in a goalline clearance, while Charlie Coppola headed over the bar.

In the second half, George Gaskin had a couple of half chances from long balls forwards, but neither trouble the home keeper. Josh Pelling held a low free kick on the hour, while a mazy run from Coppola saw him put his low shot just wide.

The Rooks did pull a goal back on 78 minutes as Smith acrobatically pulled off an overhead kick from a cross to set up a nervy finale.

In a fractious few minutes, Horsham incensed their hosts by trying to run the clock down, but held out for the victory.

Horsham: Pelling, Duncan, Farmer, Jones, Hyde, Kirkwood, Harris, Branford, Lawley, Boswell, Gaskin. Subs: Price, Andrade, Sackman, Smith.

Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.

Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.

1 Make this website your homepage

2 Like our Facebook page at facebook.com/pages/Sport-Sussex

3 Follow us on Twitter @SportSussex

4 Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.

And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!