An injury-time Rob O’Toole strike helped Horsham hit back in style and avoid what manager Dominic Di Paola said would have been a ‘travesty’ of a draw.
The striker netted late on to grab the Hornets a 2-1 win at home over Guernsey in the Bostik League South Division on Bank Holiday Monday.
It saw them reply in fine fashion after Saturday’s disappointing 5-0 drubbing at Thamesmead Town.
Di Paola felt his side had by far the better chances, and said: “I thought we were, for long periods, comfortable, especially as a couple of the lads were a bit fatigued given the numbers we had out.
“I asked a lot to play to two games in three days and for someone like Matt Axell, it was his first two proper games in eight months.
“We did fade a bit in the second half and made our own problems, but I cannot be too critical and it was good performance after Saturday.
“It was a big improvement as we had a lot of people back playing in the right positions.
“We worked ever so hard and it was much, much better. We should have won by more and it would have been a travesty if it ended up a draw.”
After Saturday’s drubbing, Horsham made three changes as with Charlie Farmer, Michael Waller and Toby House all coming in for Jack Hartley, Joe Keehan and Tom Lawley.
The hosts had appeals for a penalty waved away when O’Toole appeared to be nudged off the ball and Steve Metcalf drove in a straight at Callum Stanton.
An unmarked Tom De La Mare should have scored as he was picked out by a corner on the edge of the box but he fired well wide.
House and O’Toole fired at Stanton and the keeper produced a finger-tip save to deny Darren Boswell.
The home side led on 21 minutes as Matt Axell put through House and he ran through and slipped the ball under Stanton. Axell then put in a great covering tackle to deny De La Mare at the other end after an error from goalkeeper Josh James.
Horsham controlled possession and chances from then on, but almost found themselves level before the break as James had to palm away a Sam Cochrane header.
Charlie Farmer put in a crucial last-ditch tackle at the start of the second half to deny Ross Allen and Waller was denied by the woodwork.
Stanton’s goal was coming under a bombardment but somehow the Hornets failed to extend their lead and they were punished with 16 minutes left.
De La Mare picked up a ball forwards and found Seb Skillen, who poked the ball home from a tight angle.
Boswell’s effort was then deflected wide by a defender, while Lewis Hyde blocked a Guernsey chance for Kyle Smith. But with time ticking away it was Horsham that nicked it as O’Toole finished a neat move from Hartley and Darren Budd.
Horsham: James, Hunt, Farmer, Hyde, Metcalf, Axell, Budd, Waller (Lawley), Boswell (Hartley), House (Newhouse), O’Toole. Unused: Breach, McCarthy.