Horsham extend unbeaten run with win at Lewes but Di Paola admits they 'can play better'

Joe Shelley grabbed the winner for Horsham at Lewes on Monday. Picture by Steve Robards
Joe Shelley grabbed the winner for Horsham at Lewes on Monday. Picture by Steve Robards

Dominic Di Paola confessed that Horsham ‘can play better’ despite the Hornets maintaining their unbeaten start to the BetVictor Premier Divison with a 2-0 win at ten-man Lewes on bank holiday Monday.

Second half strikes from George Hayward and Joe Shelley saw Di Paola’s side pick up their second consecutive away victory and extended their unbeaten run to four.

The Hornets manager said: “There’s things we’ve still got to work on but it was a very pleasing result.

“It’s just one game though. We’ve got Folkestone on Saturday who are top of the league.

“Credit to the boys, I think we can play better and if we can get a settled side out, which we’ve not really been able to do in the early stages, I think that would help us and bring us on a bit.

“But it’s such early days. Last year we were really poor results-wise in the first month and yet we finished second in the table.

“I just think wherever possible we need to pick up points as that really helps us with what we’re trying to achieve. That’s all you can ask for at that stage.

“We’ve got quite a few new players and we’re playing a different style of football in a slightly different shape this season so there’s been a lot of things that have had to change. Plus we’ve come up a league.”

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The first half ended goalless despite Horsham passing up two gilt-edged chances before the break. Chris Smith managed to shoot wide from ten-yards with the goal at his mercy before

Smith played in Kieran Lavery who missed the ball from six-yards out.

These misses were quickly forgotten as the Hornets took the lead after just 22 seconds on the second period. Lavery’s pass found Hayward who dinked the ball over the Rooks keeper to make it 1-0.

Lewes almost hit back immediately but George Bentley did well to tip James Hammond’s free-kick onto the post.

The Rooks’ Frankie Chappell was then shown a straight red card following a dangerously high tackle on Zack Newton.

Horsham grabbed what proved to be the winner on 57 minutes. A free-kick found Shelley who roses highest to thump his header past the keeper.

Mere moments later Hammond struck the woodwork yet again. The midfielder’s strike beat Bentley but not the post.

Di Paola added: “We contained them quite well and although they hit the post a couple of times I thought we looked relative comfortable. I think we can be happy really.”

The Hornets welcome top-of-the-table Folkestone Invicta to The Camping World Community Stadium on Saturday.

Horsham: Bentley, Mills, Sparks, Harris (Kelly 70), Shelley, Miles, Dawson, Hayward (O’Toole 65), Lavery, Smith (Rance 82), Newton. Unused: Brivio, Harding.