Horsham 2 Wingate & Finchley 1: Harris and Smith fire Hornets into play-off places

Horsham's Chris Smith. Picture by Steve Robards
Horsham's Chris Smith. Picture by Steve Robards

Goals from Charlie Harris and Chris Smith saw Horsham overcome a spirited Wingate & Finchley 2-1 at home this (Tuesday) evening and move Dominic Di Paola's side up to fourth in the BetVictor Premier Division.

Harris and Smith gave the Hornets a 2-0 lead at the break. Tage Kennedy pulled a goal back for the Blues but Horsham held on to claim yet another impressive victory.

Di Paola named an unchanged side from Saturday's convincing 4-0 win at Brightlingsea Regent. Dylan Merchant and Kieran Lavery returned to the bench for the Hornets.

Horsham grabbed an early goal on Saturday and they repeated the trick once again.

A pinpoint diagonal ball from Steve Metcalf found Harris in the area. The midfielder coolly slotted the ball past Wingate keeper Shaun Gore to give the hosts a third minute lead.

The visitors had their first sight of goal on ten minutes. Ahmet Rifat played in Kennedy who broke into the box, but the Blues player could only drag his shot wide.

On 15 minutes a powerful Smith cross was fumbled by Gore. Luckily for the visitors Tanasheh Abrahams was on hand to spare Gore's blushes and clear from an onrushing Kieron Pamment.

The Hornets' pressure finally told as they doubled the advantage on 27 minutes. An exceptional cross-field ball from Harris found Pamment, who squared the ball to Smith to tap home.

Horsham were well in control of the opening half-an-hour but couldn't forge any goalscoring opportunities.

But five minutes before the break the Hornets forced Gore into a strong save. A perfectly weighted through ball from Smith threaded through Harris but Gore got down well low to his left to deny the midfielder his second of the night.

Despite the Horsham's first-half dominance Wingate had a succession of chances in added time. Luke Ifil whipped in a cross from the right that picked out Tommy Tejan-Sie. The midfielder collected the ball and struck a powerful effort that went just wide.

Marvin Morgan's header back into the box reached Olu Oluwatimilehin and the midfielder forced a great close-range save from George Bentley. Abrahams then saw a header fly inches past the post as the Hornets' two-goal cushion survived to the break.

Horsham first chance of the second half came on 56 minutes. A 25-yard rocket from Lee Harding had Gore at full-stretch to keep the score at 2-0.

A minute later Harvey Sparks' placed cross from the left found Pamment but the forward's effort rippled the side-netting.

The game had to wait until 67 minutes for the next chance. Kennedy played the ball out wide to sub Roman Michael-Percil on the right. He picked out Kennedy, who made an excellent run into the box, but he couldn't guide the ball past Bentley.

Wingate & Finchley got a foothold back in the game two minutes later. Rifat produced a world-class outside-of-the-boot pass to send Kennedy away and this time he delivered the goods as he netted into the far corner.

With two minutes remaining the Blues had a penalty shout turned down. Michael-Percil twisted and turned in the box before going down under pressure but the referee remained unmoved.

Fortunately for the Hornets the late Wingate onslaught never came and Di Paola's men held on for a hard-fought victory.

Horsham: Bentley, Metcalf, Sparks, Kelly (Brivio 82), Shelley, Miles, Pamment, Dawson, Smith (Newton 62), Harris, Harding. Unused: Merchant, Hayward, Lavery.

Attendance: 412