Horsham stun high-flying VCD Athletic and Di Paola singles out every player for praise

Two-goal Rob O'Toole celebrates against VCD Athletic on Saturday. Picture by John Lines
Two-goal Rob O'Toole celebrates against VCD Athletic on Saturday. Picture by John Lines

Horsham manager Dominic Di Paola praised every single one of his players as they put in their best performance of the season to stun third-placed VCD Athletic on Saturday.

Two goals from Rob O’Toole along with strikes from Chris Smith and Will Hoare saw the Hornets clinch their sixth league win and climb up to seventh in the Bostik League South East Division.

It was a complete showing from the home side against their visitors, who had scored 12 goals in their last two games.

But Horsham were at it from the off and never looked back from leading 2-0 in the 13th minute after Smith slotted home and O’Toole finished cleverly.

O’Toole lashed home a third on the hour mark, before VCD had Jack Steventon sent off for a last-man foul. Substitute Hoare wrapped things up eight minutes from time when he rounded goalkeeper Joe Mant.

On whether it was their best display of the season, Di Paola said: “I think so. There have been a few, Corinthian Casuals was really good, Heybridge Swifts apart from the first 15 or so minutes and Carshalton Athletic away.

“We have had some good performances, but the boys were really up for it. I do think we caught them on an off day, but take nothing away from us.

“Sometimes you just have good days and bad days in our league, some days you are really on it and the players deserve credit for that.

“It doesn’t always happen, but in the changing room before the game I could see they really wanted to get on the ball and play football.”

In-form Horsham have now won seven games from their last ten and Di Paola was quick to praise all of his players’ efforts.

On the performances, he said: “It was from front to back. Josh Pelling made a brilliant save at 1-0. Dylan Merchant and Joe Shelley were solid and dealt with Charlie MacDonald, which is a very hard thing to do, he is up there with the best striker in the league.

“Mets (Steve Metcalf)is in his best form since being at the club. He has taken to this team, before when it was him and Scott Kirkwood their was a lot of their shoulders.

“Harvey Sparks in the last few games is getting back to the form when he was promoted with Worthing.

“Charlie Harris is showing just how good Charlie Harris can be and Brivs (Jack Brivio) was man of the match on Saturday.

“Tyrell Richardson-Brown has been magnificent and we are getting what we want from him now. Rob and Chris work relentlessly and both scored which is good for them as they thrive off of it.

“George Hayward is an unsung hero, shows me leaving him to last, he gives something different; such good energy levels and good quality on the ball.”

Horsham: Pelling, Metcalf, Merchant, Shelley, Sparks, Haywards, Harris, Brivio, Richardson-Brown, Smith, O’Toole. Subs: Hoare, Hyde, McElligott, Lovegrove, Harding.