Horsham eased into the first round of the Velocity Trophy with a comfortable victory over Haywards Heath in a seven-goal thriller at Hanbury Park on Tuesday night.
It was an error-strewn game between the two Sussex Bostik League South East sides just six days before they meet again in the division on Monday at Culver Road.
First-half goals from Rob O’Toole, Tyrell Richardson-Brown and George Landais gave the Hornets a comfortable lead ahead of an own goal, before half-time.
Substitute Chris Smith then bagged a brace in between a Max Miller consolation to set-up a first-round tie at Bracknell Town.
As expected, Dominic Di Paola made a number of changes to his side that won 2-1 at Sevenoaks in the league on Saturday.
Charlie Farmer, James McElligott, Tyrell Richardson-Brown and George Landais came in for their first starts of the season along with George Hayward.
The Horsham boss said: “I think they rested a few and we rested a few, so it was a good result in that respect. Some of the boys have deserved more minutes and not had a chance yet.
“None of them had done anything wrong, they all had good pre-seasons, but there is competition for places. All those that came in did well and it was good to give everyone minutes with two games in three days over the weekend.
“They had a couple of chances and we had a few we should have done better with, but it was fine. It’s a bit of a strange cup as you never know what you are going to get, but we are in the next round.”
Horsham led after just eight minutes when O’Toole picked up a misplaced Luc Doherty pass and finished past Josh Heyburn.
Heyburn gifted the visitors a second on 24 minutes as his attempted clearance fell to Richardson-Brown, who finished at the second attempt.
Three minutes later it was 3-0 when Niam Rouane lost possession and Will Hoare crossed for Landais to tap home. A minute later Heath had a goal back as Josh Pelling’s kick to Daryl Coleman was knocked back towards goal, but rolled straight into the net for an own goal.
There were numerous chances at either end ahead of the half-time whistle, but it remained 3-1 at the break.
Horsham restored their three-goal cushion in the 64th minute as Landais crossed for half-time substitute Chris Smith, who fired low into the bottom corner.
Heath pulled another goal back with five minutes remaining when a ricochet fell kindly into the path of Miller, whose lay-off was thumped over Pelling and under the crossbar by Akehurst.
But Horsham had the final say when Richardson-Brown chasing down another soft backpass and beat Heyburn to the ball to tee-up Smith.
Horsham: Pelling, Metcalf, Farmer, Coleman, McElligott, Hoare (Harris 45), Haywards, Lovegrove, Richardson-Brown, O’Toole (Smith), Landais (Hartley 65). Unused: Shelley, Hyde.