Dom Di Paola’s Horsham side proved their 0-2 win away at Greenwich Borough was not just a flash in the pan, as they made it six points from their last two league outings, thanks to a deserved 2-1 win against high-flying Hythe Town at a chilly Culver Road.
The Hornets have often struggled for consistency at times in the league this season, however they now have fifteen points from their last eight league fixtures – winning four, drawing three with their only loss away at Chipstead at the start of November.
That this latest win should come against a side, like Greenwich Borough, who are aiming for promotion this season will further reinforce the view that The Hornets can climb up the table further after the victory lifted them to sixteenth, with winnable games – at least on paper – coming up as the season gears towards the festive period during December and add to the growing confidence that this side are capable of beating sides regardless of league positioning.
It was the visitors who had the first sniff at goal early on in the forth minute, as Cannons Captain Ryan Johnson hit an ambitious shot first time just outside the semi-circle, only for the ball to fly harmlessly over the bar.
Horsham attempted a route one approach soon afterwards, lofting over a long ball above the Hythe Town defence towards Jack Hartley in the centre of the box, but with William Thomas marshalling well at the back the danger was hooked clear.
Horsham’s second attempt bore fruit though, as they again went over-the-top with another looped ball, this time finding Dean Bown who managed to sneak in behind the defence, as the ball dropped down to ground, the striker’s first two touches appeared to let him down, but he recovered well to evade Thomas and steer the ball into the net to put The Hornets in front.
Bown then spurned a super chance to double his, and Horsham’s tally in the thirteenth minute, when he again succeeded in getting in behind Hythe’s suspect defence, but with only William Godmon to beat, he managed to shoot too close to the Cannons goalkeeper, giving Godmon the chance to block with his legs as Bown let the visitors off the hook.
Hythe almost made Horsham pay for wasting such a chance as they powered forward into Horsham’s half, but Dean Grant’s header was sent narrowly over as Horsham struggled to deal with the attack.
Bown was proving to be at the heart of all of Horsham’s best chances as he made himself available inside the box for a low pass from Darren Boswell, but despite being allowed time and space to turn, he struck wide.
Further Horsham profligacy occurred, as this time Scott Kirkwood picked up a pass in a prime position in the box, but with a clear sight on goal, his shot was hit directly at Godman, who stood his ground well to parry, while Bown was unable to convert the rebound, and with the ball quickly recycled to Joe Shelley, the three times County League winner smacked a rasping shot from twenty yards out just wide.
Horsham were made to pay for their missed chances a minute later when, against the run of play, Hythe Town dragged themselves level as Charlie Webster found the net through Brannon Daly’s near post, sneaking the ball in.
Horsham immediately looked to claw themselves back in front, as they continued to dictate the game, with a great knock from Kirkwood curling the ball into the box towards Joe Shelley at the back post, but with the ball slightly above him, ‘Biff’ was unable to convert despite throwing his body in the air.
More chances for Horsham followed, with Godmon blocking once more from Bown on his line, and Hakeem Adelakun’s follow up rifled wide.
There was almost calamity for the hosts before half time however, as Hythe won a freekick towards the side edge of the box, and despite Webster’s curling ball appearing to be easy catching practice for Daly, Horsham hearts went into mouths, as he allowed the ball to travel through his hands and go wide.
H/T: Horsham 1 Hythe Town 1
Horsham were perhaps slower out of the traps for the second half than for the first, however they still had the first real chance of note four minutes after the interval when Bown managed to dig the ball out from underneath his feet and smack a poor effort wide of the mark.
Horsham’s high pressing game almost caught out The Cannons minutes later, when they intercepted a loose pass high up the pitch as the Yellows quickly won back possession, yet Bown was unable to get past the last man after quickly being fed the pass.
However Horsham eventually retook the lead deservedly, and they did it from a set-piece after winning a corner. With both Lewis Hyde and Joe Shelley coming in, it was the latter who won the aerial duel, meeting the ball with a towering header straight through the middle of Godmon’s goal.
Having got their noses back in front, Horsham appeared content to soak up pressure while trying to look for a third goal to kill off the visitors, as they did well to restrict The Cannons, however with time ticking on, the hosts grew ever more timid as Hythe looked for a way back.
With the hard working Bown replaced by Toby House, the young replacement could have put the game to bed with five minutes remaining when he collected a delicate pass inside the box, but rather than hit a first time shot across the face of goal, he delayed and was forced to take the ball out of play.
Some late pressure from Hythe added to a nervy final five minutes as Sidney Sollis managed to fire wide, but Daly would then produce a fine double save to deny the guests, first blocking bravely to thwart Grant who had been played in with space, and following that stop up as he got down well to prevent Sollis’ follow up creeping in.
Daly would produce another match winning at the death, saving from point blank range to deflect the ball onto the post following a goalmouth scramble as The Hornets held on to record an important victory.
Reporter: Matt Dale