Dom Di Paola is set to hand a debut to new signing Taurean Roberts on Tuesday evening when we take a break from league matters with a visit to Littlehampton Town for a third round tie in the Parafix Sussex Senior Cup.
The former Crystal Palace apprentice, who also lists Tooting & Mitcham, Walton Casuals, Salisbury City and Merstham among his former clubs, agreed terms with the Hornets at the weekend and is expected to go straight into tomorrow’s squad as we aim to secure a place in the quarter-finals of the county’s premier cup competition for only the second time since 2012.
Having needed extra-time to see off Newhaven in the previous round, Littlehampton present a similarly tough challenge despite a gap of 61 places between the two teams. Southern Combination Football League Division One champions in 2015, the Marigolds were only denied a place in the Isthmian League due to ground grading issues but they struggled to build on that success and were relegated from the county’s top flight three years later. However, they are enjoying a fantastic 2019/2020 campaign and currently top the division by five points from their nearest challengers, having played two less games. With eleven wins from twelve games in the league, and already through to the semi-finals of the Peter Bentley Cup and last eight of the League Cup, they are a team bang in form as they showed on Saturday with a 6-0 demolition of Midhurst & Easebourne.
Horsham and Littlehampton is a footballing rivalry that extends back to the latter part of the 19th century, when the two were members of the West Sussex Senior League, and this will be the 11th time the clubs have been paired together in this competition with the Hornets edging things with six wins to Littlehampton’s five, the most recent meeting coming at Lancing in December 2017 when Horsham came through 4-2 victors.
Just Joe Shelley and Steve Metcalf remain from the Horsham squad that played that night while Lucas Pattenden is the Marigolds’ sole survivor. However, Hornets followers will spot a couple of familiar faces in the opposing line-up with former favourites Ash Jones and Al Duncan now plying their trade at the Sportsfield while George Gaskin, who so memorably netted hat-tricks for Littlehampton and Horsham back on Boxing Day 2016, is back in the amber and black of our opponents.
The match kicks-off at 7.30pm to allow for the possibility of extra-time and penalties, with the tie set to be determined on the night.
Regular updates will be provided via our twitter feed @HorshamFC but anyone unable to make the journey south can still get their ‘live’ Senior Cup ‘fix’ on Tuesday as the Camping World Community Stadium is set to host Crawley Town’s 3rd round clash with Lancing, kick-off 7.30pm, to which admission is just £5.