Horsham put behind the disappointment of their FA Trophy exit on Sunday by taking to the field barely forty-eight hours later to dispatch Greenwich Borough by two goals to nil at a wet Culver Road to make it five wins from their last six Bostik League outings and climb further up the table.
Despite the win, Horsham missed out on a place in the play-off positions, thanks to Whyteleafe’s 2-0 defeat of Hastings United, but this latest win will continue to fuel belief that Dom Di Paola’s side are capable of mounting a sustained attempt of finishing in, or at least close to the top five come the end of the season.
This latest victory was not the free flowing, silky football that Hornets fans have grown to expect of late, but it was enough to get the job done against the struggling Kent side with The Hornets looking jaded from their cup exploits however they were helped in some part by a toothless Borough side, who looked a far cry from the side who finished fourth last season.
Despite the weather likely playing it’s part in keeping fans away, the sparse crowd were at least afforded a respite as the conditions improved just in time for kick off as the rain and wind made way for a calm evening, and in the seventh minute, the game’s first shot on target came when Lee Harding fired straight at visiting goalkeeper Thomas McGill who made a comfortable save.
A fairly open start to the game saw little action following Harding’s effort, but on twenty minutes, The Cannons were forced into a change of personnel when midfielder Teshuane Tyreece Walters collapsed after struggling to run off an ankle injury and had to be replaced by Kayne Roberts.
Three minutes after having had to make the change, Horsham went close to breaking the deadlock when Rob O’Toole flashed a cross into the box towards the head of Will Hoare, but The Hornets man could not react quickly enough and headed well off target.
With Horsham steadily putting their guests under more pressure, Jack Brivio attempted to turn in Dean Lovegrove’s cross, but missed, while Harvey Sparks flicked it backwards but ultimately wide of the far post as Harding ran in late behind him.
Lovegrove again delivered another good cross that was helped on by Harding to Hoare in a good position to shoot, but this time, he got his technique all wrong, smashing a half-volley well over the bar.
Horsham were now creating plenty of chances but struggling to finish, thanks to a combination of wayward finishing and strong defending from Borough, and when O’Toole supplied a fine ball towards Montserrat International Joey Taylor, he appeared favourite to score, opening up his body to shoot, but his effort was bravely charged down by Amos Dadet at point blank range.
Jack Brivio would send over a fierce drive over the bar as both sides went in at the break unable to break the deadlock.
H/T: Horsham 0 Greenwich Borough 0
Horsham continued where the left off two minutes into the second half, when once again, Taylor found himself thwarted in front of goal, this time thanks to a superb save from McGill. After picking up a lovely reverse pass inside the box, Taylor adjusted his body shape to curl an effort across the face of the goalkeeper that was heading for the net, but the Cannon’s shot-stopper reacted magnificently to dive across and tip his attempt off the crossbar.
Yet Greenwich Borough essentially gave Horsham the goal they had been searching for on fifty-one minutes as The Hornets said “thank you very much”. Dadet allowed himself to be dispossessed within his own third, and the ball was immediately rolled to O’Toole in plenty of space in the centre of the pitch, he collected on the edge of the box and smashes it low down, McGill parried, but he was unable to prevent the rebound as Harding reacted first to the ball and struck with a composed finish.
Looking to kill off the game quickly, Harding’s low centre was met by O’Toole racing in at the near post looking to slide it home, but Greenwich held firm as the former Burgess Hill striker failed to find the target.
Understandably though, Horsham began to tire as Borough sensed retrieving something from the game as The Hornets passing became more suspect. Laurent Mendy tested Josh Pelling with a rare effort for the visiting side that was held while a dangerous freekick on the edge of the box jangled a few nerves for Hornets supporters, only for Reece Deakin to curl around the wall and wide of the post.
They need not have worried as Horsham made the points safe with fifteen minutes remaining. Lovegrove slipped in O’Toole who lost his footing inside the box but still managed to send in a cross while half on the ground, it came to substitute Tyrell Richardson-Brown at the far post and the forward prodded in an untidy finish as Horsham saw out the remainder of the game.