Two sloppy goals saw Horsham ‘throw away’ all three points against East Grinstead on Tuesday in a match that ended with a nasty injury to defender Lewis Hyde, who looks set to miss the rest of the season.
Two fine second-half strikes from Curtis Gayler and Joe Shelley had seemingly put Horsham on course to get back to winning ways after suffering a narrow 4-3 defeat away to Cray Wanderers just 48 hours earlier.
But third-from-bottom East Grinstead had other ideas and twice hit back to level the scores through Alex Gaggin and Charlie Postance to ensure the Bostik League South Division derby clash ended even.
That was with a minute remaining after Hyde went down with a suspected dislocated shoulder and both managers agreed with the referee’s decision to blow full-time early. That looks set to rule the defender out for the remainder of the campaign of which just five full weeks and eight games remain.
Horsham manager Dominic Di Paola bemoaned that the match highlighted the story of their season with Hyde joining the long list of Horsham players - Brannon Daly, Adam Hunt, Chris Breach and Joe Keehan - whose season have ended early.
Di Paola said: “We did not play brilliantly well in the first half, but came out in the second and were a lot better.
“We went 1-0 up, but the players then made mistakes. We gave the ball away in a bad area and were punished.
“We got settled and did really well to get back in the game and ahead again, in my opinion. But again, we threw it away. We need to learn to manage the game better and with six minutes left to play, see the game out. To compound matters, I think we have lost Lewis Hyde for the rest of the season.
“It sums up our season in a 90-minute game; get in a good position, concede sloppy goals and then pick up a season-ending injury. Lewis was our man-of-the-match, he has been excellent all season, a consistent performer and now it looks like we have lost him.
“We had five starters missing and gave some of the young lads a go, they did okay. It’s just frustrating to throw away a win, because you cannot manage a game and see it out. It tells me that mentally, we aren’t there.”
With Scott Kirkwood still suspended and George Landais, Hakeem Adelakun and Tony Nwachukwu all missing, Matt Axell, Gayler, Toby House and Charlie Farmer all came into the starting XI.
It took until four minutes into the second half before the deadlock was broke. Axell rolled a free kick to Gayler and his well-struck 20-yard effort flew into the far corner.
The Wasps levelled on 67 minutes when Gaggin got in behind and clipped the ball past Josh Pelling. The Hornets led again with nine minutes left as Alfie Rogers laid the ball off to Shelley, who crashed home.
But with six minutes to go, a sliced clearance by Steve Metcalf dropped for Postance to fire home from six yards, ahead of an ambulance being called for the injured Hyde.
Horsham: Pelling, Metcalf, Shelley, Hyde, Farmer, B.Rogers (Walsh 45), Worrall, Axell (Watson 79), Gayler, A.Rogers, House (Street 84). Unused: Boswell.