Horsham were left to rue a missed open goal and a late ‘blatant penalty’ decision that went against them as they were sunk by a solitary goal at Ramsgate.
A second-half goal by Alfie Paxman gave the Kent side the points with Horsham manager Dominic Di Paola feeling a draw would have been a fair result for his side’s longest trip of the season.
It was a second successive 1-0 defeat for the Hornets against a side that started the day level on points in the Bostik League South Division.
Di Paola acknowledged another improved showing and said: “It was two really even teams and needed a bit of magic from one of their players to get the win. It’s a shame really, we need a goalscorer and that’s a massive problem for any team.
“We missed an open goal near then end through Toby House, had a blatant penalty turned down and a chance where we were two-on-one pulled back for a head injury, so there were a few bits at the end.
“There was a really good chance in the first half for Liam MacDevitt when we should have scored as well. A draw would have been fair as there was not a lot in it.
“I would not say we were the better team and they were not particularly better than us. It was two teams that are not doing great and lacking a bit of confidence really.
“Over the last two games, I cannot be that critical. Against Carshalton we did ok and improved and probably deserved a point and it was the same on Saturday. I can see progress.”
Paxman was closest to opening the scoring in the 25th minute, but the returning Michael Hunter tipped his effort onto the post, before it was cleared.
That came after a spell of heavy pressure from the home side, but as the Hornets grew into the game, MacDevitt was denied by Rams keeper Luke Watkins.
Jack Hartley then put a great pass through into George Landais’ path but his shot was easily saved by Watkins, before the stopper thwarted another move.
Josh Street away cut in from the wing, but shot over and just before half-time, Tom Chapman’s long-range shot was held by Hunter.
In the second half, a long throw into the area fell to Jake Munday and his shot through a crowd of players was well saved by Hunter.
The breakthrough came just past the hour mark when Paxman ran onto a pass and drove forwards before firing a left-foot shot just inside the left-hand post.
As Horsham pushed forwards, Chapman shot wildly over the bar when well placed. And as the match swung end to end, substitute Darren Boswell cut in and shot just off target.
In their best chance, James Thurgar’s volley rebounded to substitute House, who somehow put his shot over with the goal gaping.
Chapman fired past the far post after a breakaway, while Horsham’s last hurrah saw Landais upended in the area in stoppage time, but referee Jamaal Horne waving away appeals from the dug out.
Horsham: Hunter, Metcalf, Farmer, Shelley, Duncan (House 79), Landais, Kirkwood, Hartley (Boswell 54), Street (Thurgar 66), Robinson, MacDevitt. Unused: Harris, Waller.