Horsham 1, Herne Bay 0: Smith's second-half strike gives Hornets second league win

Chris Smith got Horsham's goal in their 1-0 victory over Herne Bay. Picture by John Lines
Chris Smith got Horsham's goal in their 1-0 victory over Herne Bay. Picture by John Lines

Chris Smith's second-half goal gave Horsham their second Bostik League South East Division success of the season as they overcame Herne Bay at Culver Road this afternoon.

The striker's composed finish with just over 15 minutes left to play saw the Hornets secure an overall deserved victory against their Kent visitors.

The home side had the better chances in the first half as two efforts were cleared off the line and Smith hit a post, although Josh Pelling himself pulled off a smart stop.

Herne Bay rarely threatened in the second half and it was won by Smith's solitary strike to cap a workman like performance.

Horsham manager Dominic Di Paola opted to name an unchanged side from the one that eased past Corinthian in their FA Cup replay on Wednesday.

The visitors came into the game without a league win having picked up just two points from their opening four games.

The Hornets meanwhile had one win and three defeats from their first four games, although confidence was boosted by the 5-0 cup success at Culver Road midweek.

The home side had the first chance as Lee Harding whipped a teasing cross across the face of goal, but Chris Smith was crowded out by the central defenders and couldn't get on the end of it.

On nine minutes, a ball down the channel put Luis Medina away and he raced into the area only to be well marshaled by Steve Metcalf, who averted the danger.

Just a minute later, Smith thought he had opened the scoring as his fierce half volley at the back of the area was only cleared by a goalline clearance thanks to the head of Matt Fray.

On 18 minutes, the best move of the game came as O'Toole put through Smith and he flicked the ball around a central defender, but saw his low shot come back off the far post.

The first real chance for the visitors saw a snapshot from Leonard after some pinball in the area palmed up and collected by Pelling. And the Horsham stopper then produced a smart save just past the half-hour mark as he tipped Medina's header around the post as he rose to meet Danny Rumbol's cross.

Joey Taylor replaced Steve Metcalf at the break and Horsham started the second half in the ascendancy as Smith slid in to meet a Harding cross, but Fry cleared, before another teasing Harding cross flashed across goal.

The winger then skipped away from Fry out wide and drove into the box, but his low cross-come shot was pushed away by Jordan Beeney as Smith and O'Toole waited for the square ball.

Another driving run by Harding saw him race away from Simon Kabamba on the right and his low cross was destined for Smith, but Ben Gorham crucially got there first and smashed the ball clear over the bar.

At the other end, a rare Herne Bay shot saw Medina fire into the side netting from a tight angle.

The opening goal finally came on 73 minutes as Smith raced onto a tidy flick-on from O'Toole after a long ball up field and the striker bore down on goal and finished low past Beeney.

Horsham: Pelling, Metcalf (Taylor 46), Shelley, Hyde, McElligott, Hoare (Hayward 82), Coleman, Harris (Brivio 75), Harding, Smith, O'Toole. Unused subs: Lovegrove, Richardson-Brown.

Herne Bay: Beeney, Rumbol (Mulrooney-Skinner 60), Gorham, Fray, Kabamba, Schafer, Leonard (Brown 60), Carlton, Wilkins, Embrey, Medina. Unused subs: Meziane, Kingsford, Weise.