Leaders Horsham 'can't rest on their laurels' after disappointing defeat

Horsham manager Dominic Di Paola. Picture by Steve Robards
Horsham manager Dominic Di Paola. Picture by Steve Robards

Dominic Di Paola stressed that Horsham ‘can’t rest on their laurels’ or ‘stand still’ after the BetVictor Premier Division leaders suffered a disappointing 3-0 home defeat against mid-table Margate on Saturday.

The Hornets, who took to the field for the first time in a fortnight, went a goal down on 35 minutes after a tidy finish from Noel Leighton.

The host began the second half with more purpose but two quickfire Margate goals from Kieran Monlouis and Adem Ramadan condemned Horsham to defeat.

The Hornets remain top of the Premier Division but only by a single goal. Second-placed Folkestone Invicta drew 0-0 at Lewes while third-placed Worthing, who are two points off Horsham, drew 2-2 at Haringey Borough.

Di Paola said: “Players that are playing have to be better. We’re not going to stand still.

“If you’re a forward player you have to be better. If you’re a defender you don’t want to concede goals.

“All we’ve ever strived to do is be a better version of ourselves all the time.

“The first thing I did after Margate when I got home was take a look at myself. That’s what the players should be doing as well.

“You can’t rest on your laurels just because you’ve won a few games of football. The best teams want to keep improving and the players want to keep improving.

“If we can’t get the players to do what we need them to do we might have to change it.

“I’ve got a bit of an idea of what happened on Saturday based on their shape. We talked about it but I don’t think the players ever really got it.

“But the boys have been top draw. They’ve taken things on board and you see that week after week.”

The Hornets were flat in the opening half hour and were made to rue their slow start on 35 minutes.

The hosts failed to clear their lines and the ball fell kindly for Leighton who coolly slotted the ball into the bottom corner.

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Horsham started the second half brightly but Margate doubled their advantage just after the hour mark after an uncharacteristic mistake from keeper George Bentley.

Margate added their third just four minutes later. A buccaneering Kaddell Daniel run saw him bomb past Harvey Sparks and round Bentley.

The winger squared the ball to Elliott Reeves, who saw his shot blocked on the line but Ramadan fired home the rebound.

Di Paola added: “If you look at Margate and looked at our team, they looked like they’d been playing Saturday, Tuesday.

“It’s very hard to maintain high standards when you have a break.

“We weren’t able to prepare as well as we could for Saturday and the by-product of that was we were below-par.

“I can’t complain too much. In the game we had that chance from Lea Dawson, we might have had a penalty in the first half.

“Margate had quite a lot of the ball but I don’t think they did a lot with it.

“They scored at pretty good times. The first goal ricochets in the box and he’s taken it well.

“There was then some poor defending and the keeper makes a bit of a howler.

“Off the back of that, and with the break we had, I don’t think we had enough to kick on and drive back into the game.

“We’re not going to win every week. We have to accept that.

“Anyone that thinks we’re unbeatable doesn’t know what’s going on.”