Horsham’s eight-game unbeaten run ended when they suffered a poor 2-0 defeat at home to local rivals Burgess Hill.
A car break down on the way to Gorings Mead meant four members of the team including three who started the game did not have a proper warm-up as they arrived just 25 minutes before kick-off.
Hill won the game through a 36th minute goal by substitute Max Miller and a second killer blow just four minutes after the start of the second half by Spencer Slaughter.
It was an unremarkable game which was watched by the largest home crowd so far this season at Gorings Mead: 323. It had been boosted by Horsham offering free entry to under-16s.
It was a pity that Horsham did not use the occasion of a new generation visiting the ground to lay on something more appealing in the hope of attracting them back in the future.
Jahmahl King, Miles Mitchell, Billy Dunn and substitute Gaby Odunaike left the rest of the team in disarray when they did not arrive at the ground until 2.35pm which resulted in a heavily truncated warm-up and they certainly did not look at the races at all during the first half.
Fielding an unchanged team from that which beat South Park in the FA Cup replay on Tuesday, Horsham managed only one scoring opportunity before half-time. Dunn set-up Jame Cade for a shot from short range which former Horsham keeper Alan Mansfield blocked at the near post and turned around for a corner.
It wasn’t much better at the other end either with Hillian’s sole chance resulting in a goal for Miller who had replaced the injured striker Greg Luer.
Topscorer Pat Harding’s initial shot was cleared off the line through a diving header by Gary Charman but the ball went straight to Miller who volleyed into the net.
Burgess Hill increased their lead in the 49th minute when Curtis Gayler crossed to Slaughter to head into the net.
Horsham did try to pull a goal back and created several chances in the last half hour.
Mansfield denied both Billy Joe King and new signing Kery Kedze, whose shot took a slight deflection.
Gary Charman pushed up from centre back to form a four-man front line and after a run up the right wing had a go from a narrow angle which flew across the face of goal.
Kedze got more into the game along the right wing, brought back to the club because Tony Nwachukwu will miss six weeks because of work commitments.
Finally Kedze suppplied Charman from the right, only for the club’s assistant manager to lift an effort from short-range over the bar as the Hornets had to settle for their third successive defeat against their Sussex neighbours.
HORNETS: Michael Hunter, Lewis Hamilton, Billy Joe King, Jahmahl King, Gary Charman, Byron Napper, Ross Morley, Miles Mitchell (Kery Kedze 53), Billy Dunn (Odunaike 39), Jamie Cade, Ryan Marriott
Unused subs: Scott Harris, Tom Graves, Rob Frankland
HILLIANS: Alan Mansfield, Neil Watts, Sam Frisk, Darren Budd, Max Luke-Edwards, Joe Keehan, Paul Armstrong, Spencer Slaughter, Pat Harding, Greg Luer (Max Miller 22), Curtis Gayler.
Unused subs: Scott Kirkwood, Ryan Thompson, Toby Pointing, Luke Donaldson
REFEREE: Samuel Ogles