Dominic Di Paola hailed Horsham for ‘coming out like a bullet from a gun’ in their 4-0 win at Brightlingsea Regent in the BetVictor Premier Division on Saturday.
Chris Smith’s double had the Hornets 2-0 up inside ten minutes before Charlie Harris’s free-kick made it three before the break.
Smith missed a spot kick on 63 minutes but atoned for his sins a minute later to seal his hat-trick and cap an impressive display.
Di Paola said: “I was concerned in the warm up. We didn’t look that sharp but we came out like a bullet from a gun and put them under a lot of pressure early doors.
“They found it really hard to live with us in the first half. In the second half we did a really professional job of seeing the game out.
“To be honest Charlie should have scored in the first couple of minutes and then Smudge (Smith) has missed a penalty.
“But you’ve got to be happy with the finishing in the last couple of games.”
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Smith netted his first of the afternoon on seven minutes. A great cross from Kieron Pamment found the onrushing forward, who applied the finish.
The striker added his, and the Hornets, second three minutes later after he coolly rolled the ball past the Regent keeper.
Harris fired a cheeky free-kick under the wall on 37 minutes to give Horsham a 3-0 lead at half-time.
The visitors were awarded a penalty on 63 minutes after Joe Shelley took an elbow to the face. Smith stepped up, on a hat-trick, but his fierce spot kick rattled the post.
But the forward needed just a minute to make amends. A Shelley header across the box found Smith, who poked home to take home the match ball.
Di Paola added: “It was a really tough away day. It was not far off seven hours on the coach there and back.
“I left mine at nine in the morning and we got home just before nine. It was a 12 hour day, our longest away day of the season, and you just want to do yourself justice when you get there.
“Brightlingsea will beat a lot of teams at home. People will travel up there and it’ll be a dark and gloomy and it’ll get dark at four o’clock.
“The pitch will deteriorate up there as the season goes on. From my point of view it’s better to get these trips out the way.”
The Hornets host Wingate & Finchley tonight (Tuesday, 7.45pm).
Horsham: Bentley, Metcalf, Sparks, Kelly, Shelley, Miles, Pamment, Dawson (Hayward 81), Smith, Harris (Brivio 66), Harding (Newton 66). Unused: James.