It’s fair to say it has not been the greatest of weeks at Horsham FC.
Three days after being narrowly knocked out of the FA Cup they were unceremoniously dumped out of another cup with a humbling 7-2 home defeat to Burgess Hill in the League Cup.
The result - the worst Simon Colbran has endured as Hornets manager - was given a thick gloss by three Hillians goals inside seven minutes, and then after a strong Horsham fightback, three more from the visitors in the final ten minutes.
The Hornets will be desperate to avoid a hat-trick of cup exits when they go to Hastings in the FA Trophy this weekend, although they face a tough task against former manager John Maggs’ high-fliers on their own patch.
Horsham’s problems do not only extend to their cup exploits. They are without a league win in five and currently sit 18th out of 24 in the Ryman South table, already 15 points behind Saturday’s opponents, albeit with two games in hand, as they have over a number of other sides in the division.
Saturday’s FA Cup loss in particular was painful with Horsham seemingly on the cusp of something special, and especially after victors Chatham Town were dealt a home draw against Southern Premier St Albans City in the next round, one before the First Round Proper.
Colbran, though rightly pointed out that reaching the Third Qualifying Round represented success in itself, achieved with impressive victories over Walton & Hersham, South Park in the replay and Faversham Town in the previous round.
That’s not to mention the £10,000 in prize money alone - three times what was accrued over the whole of last season - leaving the manager to insist there was “no panic and no pressure” on him or his players.
“Unfortunately that’s the pleasures of management, we had three great results and we were the best team in the world, and now we’ve had two poor results we’re the worst,” Colbran said.
“We lost 1-0 to a side at the same level on Saturday, and yes it’s a game we felt we should have won because we were at home but everyone needs to remember how well we did to get that far.”
And insisting the club’s ambitions for the season we still achieveable he said: “There’s definitely no panic and no pressure. No one expects miracles at Horsham. We’re not in a position to push for the league, everyone knows that, but we do have a decent squad capable of making the play-offs and that’s still up for grabs.”
Colbran believes in new signing Andrew Juett (who missed Tuesday’s game with a slight injury) he has the natural goalscorer the club have been missing, and he has also just put in a seven- day approach for another striker.
“He was recommended to me, his club Hanworth Villa are top of the Combined Counties League and he scored lots of their goals,” he said. “We’ve needed someone who is just a natural goalscorer and Andrew is in that mould, and the other player I’ve gone for can also score goals for sure.”
Saturday’s FA Trophy game at Hastings is worth a further £2,500 in prize money.