Horsham safely secured their passage into the Third Round of the Sussex Senior Cup with a 0-2 win against Southern Combined side Storrington.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the two division gap between the two sides, this was a game in which the visitors largely dominated but despite the scoreline suggesting routine win, it was a match in which Dom Di Paola’s side rarely needed to get out of second gear. On another night, the score could have been a bit more one-sided, with Storrington thankful for the woodwork coming to their aid on several occasions, while former Horsham goalkeeper Gary Elliott ensured the score would remain respectable, with several impressive saves throughout.
Horsham, still flying high from their sensational last gasp 2-3 comeback win on Saturday against Ashford United, made four changes to the starting line-up from the weekend, but still fielded a strong squad that saw the return of Lee Harding to the starting line-up, while Scott Kirkwood and Jack Hartley were restored to the bench.
The Hornets wasted little time testing the resolve of their hosts, as Charlie Harris attempted to flash in a shot from distance on two minutes that Elliot gathered comfortably, and they went even closer to opening the scoring when Jack Brivio drove in a cross low in front of the face of goal that teammate George Hayward failed to touch in.
Elliott then tipped away acrobatically from Hayward’s shot as he quickly set to prove himself against his former club, but he could only spectate as his defence allowed a cross to come to Tyrell Richardson-Brown at the back post unmarked, as he clipped his shot over the bar.
Rather inevitably, Horsham found the breakthrough on thirteen minutes. Chris Smith jinxed his way into the box and took the ball past his man, before placing from a tight angle across goal into the far corner just off the post.
Three minutes afterwards, The Hornets somehow failed to double their lead. With a corner sent in, Storrington allowed Lewis Hyde to fire at goal, Elliott parried, but Jack Brivio headed back towards the goal, only for defender Josh Warner to head off the line onto his crossbar, while Smith could only apply the follow up into midfielder Owen Cave as the hosts finally cleared.
Horsham continued to pour forward, as Smith’s low shot across the face of goal went narrowly wide, while once more the woodwork rescued Storrington when Haywards’ first time curling shot, bent onto the outside of the post and went out for a goalkick.
Once again, Horsham hit the frame of the goal, this time the base of the post as Harris collected high up the pitch and dummied past Adam Bardoulean however his low shot bounced back out into the field of play off the upright.
Eventually, the hosts managed to make a rare excursion into Horsham’s territory. Jordan Suter peeled away beyond Dean Lovegrove and attempted to slide the ball back for Kelvin Lucas, but Lovegrove intercepted while ‘keeper Josh Pelling came off his line to clear the ball up the pitch.
With a final chance before half time for Horsham to extend their lead, Richardson-Brown’s miskick into air from a cross saw the ball come out to Hayward near the back post, but his curling attempt was parried by Elliott for a corner.
H/T: Storrington 0 Horsham 1
Horsham continued where the left off for the second half, as they continued to dominate proceedings and look for that killer second goal, but once more Elliott continued to keep his side in with a chance when he saved brilliantly from Harvey Sparks, tipping his shot onto the bar.
With Horsham spending ever increasing amounts of time in Storrington’s own half, The Hornets seemed happy to pepper Elliott with pot-shots, with one such drawing a save from The Swans ‘keeper as he dived to deny Brivio at his near post.
But just after the hour mark, Horsham secured the win with their second of the game. Smith sending in a low square ball that was turned in by a waiting Brivio.
The game essentially all but over, Horsham continued to remain camped out in Storrington’s half with the hosts unable to do anything other than concede possession and aim for respectability with the score line, but once more Horsham were thwarted by the post again and saw a wannabe third goal chalked off for offside as the one-sided affair continued.
With Horsham untroubled for the remainder of the evening, they will now wait to find out who they get in the Third Round draw, while also turning their attentions to the visit of Potters Bar Town in the FA Trophy on Saturday.
Reporter: Matt Dale
Match photos by John Lines