With just eleven games left until the end of the season, another long trip into Kent awaits The Hornets as we enter the home stretch of the season, this time as we make a first return to Whitstable Town in five seasons.
Horsham last visited The Belmont Ground in September 2014 – the season in which Horsham would end up relegated. Like many games during our ill-fated 2014-15 campaign, it was a game to forget for us, as we fell to a 2-1 loss. On that day, Kane Rowland opened the scoring before Troy Williams equalised, but Horsham were unable to hold on, as Ian Pulman grabbed the winner early into the second half while Hornets legend and then manager Gary Charman found himself sent off after the final whistle for berating the match officials.
Fast forward to 2019, Horsham are now a team in a fantastic position to achieve promotion into the Bostik Premier via the play-off places, however our hosts on Saturday are also undergoing a rebuilding programme of their own on the pitch. Eventual relegation for The Oysterboys saw them fall into the Southern Counties Division, and they secured their return to Isthmian League football last season finishing as runners up in the East League Premier Division behind Sevenoaks. Despite their league position of fourteenth indicating a standing of relative comfort, they in fact find themselves only six points clear of Greenwich Borough.
Despite securing a decent point last weekend against Hastings United in a 1-1 draw, they have struggled for victories in the league, with the joint least amount of games won shared with Greenwich Borough (six). They are however somewhat draw specialists, drawing their last three matches in a row, but their last victory came on Boxing Day when they narrowly defeated Kent rivals Ramsgate 1-0 on home soil.
Despite thrashing Whistable 4-0 in the reverse fixture on 1st December, manager Dom Di Paola will go into the game expecting another tough match against Saturday’s hosts having watched his side grind out a 2-0 win last weekend against Three Bridges. Speaking to West Sussex County Times’ Ollie Berrie earlier in the week, The Hornets boss said he felt that the win could have been more comfortable had his side taken a number of gilt edged chances earlier in the game but was pleased with the result, another clean sheet and another big step towards the play-offs.
For The Hornets, Lewis Hyde’s availability will be welcomed for the Hornets boss as he returns from his three match suspension following his sending off against Ramsgate earlier this month, however Will Miles is not expected to feature following his hamstring injury picked up against Three Bridges last weekend while Charlie Harris awaits his operation scheduled next week.
For supporters unable to make the long journey to Kent, updates will be available throughout the game on our usual social media channels.
We get underway at 3pm.