Dom Di Paola declared himself pleased with the result and performance as he watched his Horsham side overcome Ware 3-1 in the FA Trophy thanks to a brace by Charlie Harris and Will Hoare.
The Horsham manager had earlier in the week expressed how proud he was of his squad despite their narrow defeat to Poole Town in the FA Cup on Tuesday night, and he made just one change to the starting line up with Lewis Hyde replacing Joey Taylor as Horsham deployed three at the back and his team repaid that faith by romping to a routine victory.
The Hornets will however, partly at least, have to owe this win down to referee Mr. Tristan Greaves, with the score at 1-0, his decision to award Horsham a penalty when Steve Metcalf went to ground following a tussle with Louis Rose appeared harsh, with the Blues defender emerging with the ball, and the visiting side were left bemoaning the officials when Mr. Greaves showed Jack Daveney a second yellow card for dissent with fifteen minutes remaining.
With the early exchanges rather tepid, it took eleven minutes for the first real chance of any note to appear coming from Horsham’s Harvey Sparks who collected on the wing and crossed early, low down but visiting goalkeeper Anthony Page had plenty of time to smother the danger before intended target Rob O’Toole could close in.
A promising build up involving Jack Brivio and Steve Metcalf resulted in the ball being cut back for Will Hoare on the outside of the area, but he swiped wide as Horsham probed further.
With Horsham growing more into the game, a lovely ball was sent forward for Tyrell Richardson-Brown to latch onto, yet despite having several options available inside the box as Horsham queued up, the pace frontman somehow squared directly to Page.
Horsham wouldn’t need to wait long to find a breakthrough, and it arrived in the twenty-fifth minute when Sparks beat his man to delivery a cross that was controlled by Hoare and lashed home into the bottom corner.
A minute after the restart, Horsham should have scored again when Richardson-Brown’s excellent cross had slightly too much height on it and eluded Rob O’Toole’s head who would have surely scored otherwise. Ware appeared in danger of imploding as again Horsham went close after another minute passing, this time as O’Toole pumped in a fine cross of his own with neither Hoare or Brivio able to convert.
Having weathered the storm, Ware finally got going, with Josh Oyibo seeing his shot well charged down by Brivio, while striker Leigh Rose spooned an effort wide as Shelley and Hyde quickly closed him down.
However the visitors really should have gone level in the thirty-sixth minute but for an excellent double save by Josh Pelling. The 2016/17 Player of the Season had been presented with a Silver Platter before the game in recognition of notching up 100 club appearances, and he demonstrated his importance to the club with a sprawling save from Leigh Rose who was not picked up by the Horsham defence as Albert Adu found him with a perfect angled cross, while the Horsham shot-stopper recovered to hold onto the rebound from David Curley who attempted to force the equaliser.
Having survived the scare, Horsham were given a huge advantage minute before half time to go 2-0 up at the break. With Metcalf played in thanks to a clever ball into the box, a robust challenge from Louis Rose sent the full-back to ground while the Blues defender emerged with the ball, despite the cries for a penalty looking soft, the referee pointed to the spot and Charlie Harris dispatched low down to the right to send Page the wrong way.
With Ware overcommitted in attack, a Horsham counter into first half injury time nearly yielded a third goal when Richardson-Brown’s pace brought the ball out of his own half to run at goal, despite Hoare offering himself on the overlap, the gangly and pacy striker went for glory himself, and attempted to apply the finish, yet Page who had rushed to close him down managed to get a glove on it to turn the ball behind with the officials incorrectly signalling for a goal kick.
H/T: Horsham 2 Ware 0
Ware emerged for the second half intent on salvaging something from the contest, and replaced Johh Oyibo and Billy Baird for Dom Njoya and Harley Haag as they set up a three-man strike force yet the visitors continued to struggle to create chances with the best opportunities coming from Leigh Rose who stole off Metcalf before striding outside the semi-circle and firing woefully wide and a downwards header from Gareth Madden from a corner gathered comfortably enough by Pelling.
With the game becoming rather bitty, Ware’s Harry Norman was shown a yellow card for his part in throwing the ball at Hornets Assistant Manager Adam Westwood, with Di Paola’s right hand man dismissed from the dugout for his reaction.
Horsham looked to kill off the visitors, with O’ Toole going close when he fired straight at Page from point blank range after Richardson-Brown’s pass had short changed him, but they quickly wrapped things up with just under twenty minutes remaining. A spell of pressure around the final third in Ware’s half told as Harris was found twenty-five yards out, and the midfielder’s fired in a beauty with a wonderfully taken curling effort to make the game safe.
Or so it seemed, when three minutes later Ware pulled a goal back as Njoya prodded in at the near post after Horsham failed to clear a cross, yet any hopes of an unlikely comeback were ruled out when the guests were forced to play the final thirteen minutes with ten men as Jack Daveney talked himself into the referee’s book once more after being booked earlier in the half.
Horsham had several chances late on to restore their three goal cushion, but ultimately saw out the game comfortably as we now wait to find out who our next opponents are when the draw is made on Monday.
Reporter: Matt Dale