Horsham were held to their first league draw of the campaign, as they played out a goalless stalemate on the East Kent coast but were left to rue a number of missed chances as hosts Ramsgate held out for a point.
Manager Dom Di Paola brought in new signing Nassim Dukali, who was added to the bench, while the only change from the starting line-up that impressively saw off Corinthian-Casuals in the FA Trophy four days earlier was Lewis Hyde, who replaced the injured Joe Shelley as the small smattering of a crowd settled down on a crisp evening at the Southwood Stadium.
Horsham started brightly with Dean Lovegrove’s cross causing an anxious moment for Rams goalkeeper Luke Watkins whilst Charlie Harris sent a long range effort wide. The home side then tested Josh Pelling through Aaron Milbank before Harry Stannard ballooned the rebound over. Tyrell Richardson Brown broke away down the right in the twenty-fourth minute but, having cut inside, his effort was blocked by Watkins with team-mates square. Rob O’Toole and Chris Smith then combined only for Ramsgate defender Jacob Mensah to get an important block in to deny Smith. The visitors best chance of the first half fell to Smith in the thirty-sixth minute when he latched onto some good work by George Hayward but, having rounded Watkins, the striker could only watch as Mensah got back to deflect his goalbound effort onto the roof of the net from just yards out.
H/T Ramsgate 0 Horsham 0
Having edged the first half, Horsham started well in the second but needed Dylan Merchant to clear Rory Smith’s fifty-sixth minute effort off the line. Richardson-Brown then hooked Hayward’s cross wide two minutes later as the play became scrappy. The woodwork then came to Ramsgate’s rescue on the hour mark when Harris’ free-kick was inadvertently headed back across goal by Liam Dickson but Smith somehow hit the bar from six yards with the goal at his mercy. The home side’s main opportunities came from set-pieces and Dickson headed a corner wide in the sixty-ninth minute before Smith had the ball in the net, reacting quickest after Watkins had saved Harris’ powerful effort, only for the goal to be chalked off by a tight offside flag. Watkins then tipped a Steve Metcalf piledriver round the post as Horsham continued to pose the greater threat. Dom Di Paola threw on Harvey Sparks and Dukali for his debut with Ramsgate happy to hold out for a point as they eked out the last few minutes every time the ball went out of play. Smith’s jinking run ended with him slicing his shot wide whilst The Hornets had a number of set pieces to deal with but they finished on the offensive with Jack Brivio heading wide and Dukali firing over in injury time.
Ultimately, for the few Horsham fans who followed the club to the Kent coast, they were left to feel frustrated at only taking a point away from a 160 mile round trip midweek, however the rise in expectations from their team will go some way to proving how far the club has come this season and they will take some comfort in their second successive clean sheet and another impressive display on the pitch.
Reporter: Mark Barrett
Match photos by John Lines