Horsham picked up another three points to make it three wins from their last three games in all competitions, as Wingate & Finchley were brushed aside at The Camping World Community Stadium.
The win puts Horsham up to fourth in the league – in and amongst the play off places – but while there is a long way to go yet this season, this latest victory will add to the growing confidence that the side who won promotion last season from the Isthmian League South East, may not only finish in the top half, but potentially challenge for a play-off place should results continue to impress as the plot thickens later further on in the campaign.
It would be rather ambitious to make predictions just yet about what Horsham might achieve on the pitch, but there was an air of expectancy ahead of this game that The Hornets would fancy taking all three points against The Blues who had only taken five points from their first six league matches, scoring just three goals. And so it proved as Charlie Harris opened the scoring with just three minutes on the clock, before Chris Smith doubled Horsham’s advantage before the half-hour mark. A third goal would have surely killed off the visitors, but instead Wingate & Finchley halved the arrears on 69 minutes thanks to Alphonso Kennedy’s impressive solo effort, but Dom Di Paola’s side saw the game out to the delight of the 412 strong mid-week crowd.
The game’s first effort came for the visitors on two minutes as Horsham conceded a cheap freekick 25 yards out from goal. Tommy Tejan-Sie stepped up and curled low around the outside of the wall, but goalkeeper George Bentley was able to warm up his gloves as he made an elegant save.
Horsham’s response was immediate. Steve Metcalf played a diagonal low ball towards the penalty area that was cleverly dummied by Chris Smith and with the visiting defence split open, Charlie Harris collected and finished perfectly, passing the ball into the bottom left hand corner.
The home side were nearly caught napping moments later when a ball through was played to Tejan-Sie who got past the Hornets defence, his cut inside towards the box saw him bare down on Bentley who he only had to beat from the angle, but he wasted the chance clipping wide.
Visiting goalkeeper Shane Gore fumbled a Chris Smith cross into the box backwards and out for a corner that was subsequently headed wide by Lea Dawson, but on 27 minutes, Horsham secured their two-goal advantage. A wonderful ball switched play from Harris out to Kieran Pamment on the right flank, and the midfield playmaker brought the ball down and returned a low cross into the area that was swept home by Smith on the edge of the six-yard box with Gore’s goalkeeping position looking rather questionable.
The hosts nearly had a chance to put the game to bed five minutes before half time when Wingate & Finchley misplaced a pass inside their own half, Pamment’s interception saw play brought forward to Smith, he then sent it onwards to Harris who had made the run into the area, but his shot from a tight angle was too close to Gore, who made the save.
On the cusp of the end of the first period, Wingate & Finchley suddenly looked dangerous. A frantic scramble inside the box eventually saw an effort pushed wide by Tanashe Abrahams who won a corner from a deflection, but it came to nothing as Horsham went in at the break 2-0 up.
H/T: Horsham 2 Wingate & Finchley 0
Looking for a third goal to effectively end the contest, striker Smith went close just minutes into the second half when he turned to face goal and shot on the turn from distance, he nearly got lucky as his effort took a wicked deflection and had Gore back-peddling, but the Blues shot-stopper made the save.
Gore was then lured into making another save later on when Lee Harding stuck a fierce effort some 20 yards out, with the ‘keeper diving to push the danger away.
Yet Horsham seemed unable to find the killer goal, as they wasted another good opportunity, this time following some good work by full-back Harvey Sparks who did well to keep the ball in play on the wing, and whip in a delicious cross towards the rear post, but Pamment could only volley into the side netting.
Smith then chased down a long ball and darted inside as Horsham looked to stretch The Blue’s defence, but the former South Park striker decided to go for glory himself and fired straight at a defender rather than look for Harding who had made the run into the box in support. It would prove to be Smith’s final contribution of the match as he made way for Zack Newton.
Will Miles then had a header scrambled off the line, but some sloppy play from the home side gave Wingate & Finchley a potential route back into the game. A fine ball out from the back from Ahmed Rifat sent Alphanso Kennedy away, and the rapid forward found plenty of space to curve his run and smash an arrowed finish into the far corner of the net to suddenly change the game’s dynamic.
Despite the goal though, the visitors rarely threatened with neither side particularly able to take control long enough, however Horsham went closest to sealing the win in the closing stages when a senseless foul from Alieu Njie saw The Hornets awarded a freekick close to the left touchline. Harris’ delivery was met by a header at the back post by Miles who throw himself at the ball but headed wide.
Wingate & Finchley did enjoy a concerted spell of pressure as referee Mr Alex Mathieson found an additional five minutes of injury time from somewhere, but Horsham held on.
Reporter: Matt Dale