Carshalton Athletic v Horsham: MATCH PREVIEW
The Hornets travel to promotion hopefuls Carshalton Athletic on Saturday with Dom Di Paola looking to record an overdue victory against the Surrey club. “They’re one of the few teams in this league that I’ve never beaten” the Horsham manager revealed. “We’ve managed to beat most of the others, even Tooting and Dorking last year and Greenwich this season, but I’ve never managed to get the better of Carshalton”. In fairness to Di Paola, the two sides have met only three times during his tenure at Horsham with the Robins’ display in last February’s corresponding fixture labelled the best by any of our opponents last season.
The 5-1 thrashing completed a league double by tomorrow’s opponents, following their 3-1 success at Gorings Mead the previous August, and they made it a trio of victories when winning 1-0 at Culver Road in October. “That was probably the most negative we’ve ever played” admitted Di Paola. “We’d just been thumped 8-0 at Cray so we had to steady the ship and it nearly worked. I wouldn’t normally choose to set-up like that but I felt we had no choice back then.
In the last couple of games we have changed our shape again, scored six goals and could have had a lot more. With the right personnel I think we can cause anyone problems playing that way but whether we approach this game in the same way, I don’t know. We had a good win at Guernsey on Boxing Day and are able to welcome back four or five players who missed that match so we should be pretty strong but we will certainly have to adopt a different approach to last season when we probably went there a bit arrogant and got turned over. We were on a good run and fancied ourselves a bit. We thought we could mix it up and get away with playing players in different positions and it just didn’t work. Carshalton are a very good side so tomorrow isn’t a day to try anything new.”
The Robins will be looking to go one better than last season when a penalty deduction saw them miss out on a play-off place by a single point and, although there is still some way to go, they look set to do so as they sit seven points clear of seventh-place and only three behind Cray Wanderers in second. Carshalton haven’t had things all their own way of late, though, with three draws and a defeat in their last six games and – unusually for them – failing to score in three of them including each of their last two home games.