Horsham’s death-wish reared its ugly head against the league’s newcomers, contriving to take the lead only to throw it all away with silly casual goals. Grays looked dangerous early on but it was the Hornets who took the lead when Andy Sandford’s perfect cross was headed in by Peter Mitchell, via a defender. But, while there was much to admire about the quality of Sandford’s cross, the same could not be said for his teammate’s defending when they relinquished the lead just five minutes later, John Brennan easily outjumping several defenders to head home powerfully from a corner with goalkeeper Chris Porter only able to get a hand to it.
Porter, too, came out of the incident with little credit with suggestions that he might have come and punched the ball clear, but he had no chance when the visitors took the lead shortly after the break. His goal-kick was simply headed back by Brennan to Gary Littlejohn who ran through the square defence to tuck the ball away. Grays striker Nicky Smith missed a sitter when the ball was pulled across an open goalmouth and this spurred the home side into action.
Paul Gates showed his worth with a blistering shot, midway through the half, for the equaliser but then Smith missed another easy chance. Gates turned from hero to villain when he needlessly tripped John Roche in the box and the same player got up to tuck away the penalty. Heads went down and Smith decided it was time to score instead of miss and drilled one in, had another saved by Porter and finaly saw a shot balloon off young sweeper David Huddlestone into the net.