An injury time header from Will Miles helped the Hornets record a fifth victory in their 2020 pre-season campaign, overcoming a resilient South Park side on Tuesday night.
Though both sides had their chances, poor finishing, among momentary glimpses of quality, prevented the game from sparking into life.
But with time ebbing away, Miles’ dramatic last-gasp header was enough to claim another victory.
The opening exchanges saw both sides testing each other in possession but a fantastic save from a trialist goalkeeper, standing in for an absent George Bentley, denied the home side from taking the lead after 11 minutes.
Charlie Harris then dragged a shot wide before ex-South Park man Chris Smith slalomed his way into the box but his weak effort was dealt with ease.
Another former Spark, Kieran Lavery, tried his luck but his outside-of-the-boot strike clattered into the side-netting.
A sensational reverse pass from Doug Tuck looked promising, as Smith was played in, but once again a tame effort was easily saved.
The Hornets’ trialist ‘keeper was called into action with ten minutes of the half remaining as he tipped another well-hit strike over the bar to keep the scores level.
Lavery closed out the first period with a decent chance, intercepting a weak back pass from a defender, before knocking the ball round the onrushing keeper. However, a heavy touch meant he couldn’t work the angle.
HT: South Park 0-0 Horsham
Jack Brivio made an instant impact after coming on for Tuck at half-time. A soaring run down the centre of the park created an excellent opportunity but the skipper’s effort was glanced over.
Lewis Taylor embarked on an almost exact recreation of Brivio’s earlier attempt, powering his way up field but his strike failed to properly test the keeper.
Rob O’Toole was another of Dom Di Paola’s substitutes who looked lively as soon as he came on. His very first involvement almost resulted in him breaking the deadlock as, searching to meet a set-piece, he pulled away from the melee in the area but his effort lacked enough power.
The hosts spurned a glorious chance in the 72nd minute when a corner sailed through the box, passing multiple men in red, but to no avail.
It was then the Hornets’ turn to create panic from a set-piece when Dylan Merchant knocked a corner back across the six-yard box but a scrappy effort from Miles was smothered on the line.
Horsham continued to probe inside the closing stages as Alex Clark whipped a magnificent cross into O’Toole but the ball just evaded his leap.
But the visitors’ patience was rewarded in added time when Miles rose highest to connect with a super delivery from Sparks, powering a header home.
A true ‘smash and grab’ victory, Di Paola’s side get back to winning ways, and back to keeping clean sheets, just in time for the long-awaited return of fans to The Camping World Community Stadium this Saturday.
We are delighted to confirm that supporters will be allowed to watch Saturday’s match at home to Harrow Borough live, and ticket details will be announced VERY soon.