Horsham made it two wins on the bounce in their pre-season campaign as a brace from Kieran Lavery and an own goal helped secure a comfortable 3-0 victory over Three Bridges.
There were shades of Saturday’s win over Saltdean United, not only by the scoreline, but also in the set-up of the game.
Dom Di Paola sent out two separate Horsham sides, one in each half, with Lewis Taylor making his first appearance since joining the club.
Meanwhile Dave Ray also made an appearance, coming on as a second-half substitute.
Playing in front of only a handful of club officials from both sides, in what was another friendly played behind closed doors, it was in fact the hosts who had the first few chances.
A Three Bridges free kick sailed over the bar while another shot on goal was swept wide by the home side, inside the first three minutes.
But the Hornets quickly took control of the game and were unlucky not to find the opener in the eighth minute after a trialist made a strong run through the hosts’ backline, but his low cross was played in behind Lavery.
Rob O’Toole then picked up a loose ball and found himself one-on-one with ex-Hornet keeper Kieron Thorp, before bending a shot past him which bounced back off the post.
The breakthrough did come though, in the 15th minute, when another great run from a trialist saw him soar up field before slipping in Lavery who knocked it sweetly past the ‘keeper.
It kickstarted an utterly dominant period as Lee Harding was then sent clear, almost immediately from the restart, with his cross finding O’Toole but he could not guide his header goal-wards.
But it was second time lucky a minute later when a superb cross from Tom Day found O’Toole, who headed back across goal where Lavery fired in a diving header to double the Hornets’ lead.
Horsham were not done yet though as some more brilliant passing between Harding, a trialist and Day saw the latter’s cross blocked for a corner.
And the visitors grabbed their third when Will Miles flicked on the resulting set-piece, which was eventually turned in by a Three Bridges player for an own-goal.
Lavery was unfortunate not to complete a first-half hat-trick when a clever disguised pass from Harding slipped in the striker, who perfectly beat the offside trap to charge down on goal.
However, his strike clipped the ‘keeper and the following corner came to nothing.
A Three Bridges striker almost clawed one back for the home side when he was played clear through on goal but his attempt to chip George Bentley landed the other side of the bar.
Bentley was then called into action once again, getting down low at his near post to deny a certain goal, just before the half-time whistle blew.
HT: Three Bridges 0-3 Horsham
It was all change in the second half with JJ O’Sullivan, Steve Metcalf, Jack Brivio, Charlie Harris and Alex Clark all entering the fray.
Meanwhile, Taylor reverted to a centre-half position while Chris Smith got his first minutes of the pre-season campaign, along with two more trialists.
An early chance saw a Brivio shot fly over before Bentley was forced into making a good low save to protect his clean sheet.
The second half was a far more even affair with both sides getting an equal share of chances. Brivio missed a free header on the hour-mark, shortly before a Three Bridges effort dropped narrowly over.
Horsham lost possession in a dangerous area and had Harris to thank as his crucial block prevented a shot on target, while a trialist broke forward down the other end before slipping a pass into Clark who cut back inside the box but curled his shot over.
With two minutes to go, the Hornets were awarded a penalty after a clumsy challenge just inside the area, but it was a case of the same old habits from last season as Lavery stepped up and saw his spot-kick saved.
No more action to note from the game in a pre-season campaign which Horsham are continuing to impress. The Hornets are back in action this Saturday when we travel to Metropolitan Police.
Currently, we are expecting the match to be played behind closed doors, but we will update you as soon as we hear otherwise.
Report by Matt Jones