Play-offs: Horsham boss on 'brilliant' Haywards Heath win, 'monumental' final clash and 'great crowd'

Horsham v Haywards Heath. Full-time celebrations. Picture by John Lines
Horsham v Haywards Heath. Full-time celebrations. Picture by John Lines

Horsham manager Dominic Di Paola praised a 'brilliant' performance against Haywards Heath but stressed they cannot now rest on their laurels ahead of a 'monumental' Bostik League play-off final.

The Hornets continued their sublime season with a comfortable 3-0 victory over local rivals Haywards Heath Town in the South East Division semi-final on Monday night.


A crowd of 547 enjoyed a top-class performance from the league's runners-up as they took another big step towards a long-awaited return to the Premier Division.


Goals from Lee Harding, Rob O'Toole and Tyrell Richardson-Brown completed what in truth was a fairly routine win and set up a final fixture at home to Ashford United on Friday evening.


Di Paola was extremely impressed by his side's showing and said: "I thought we were brilliant to be fair. They probably caught us on a good day and we caught them on a bad day. We did play ever so well though, we created a lot of chances and were up for it.


"It was really pleasing to see just how much we were up for it. We played some lovely stuff and they sometimes mixed it up well with the long ball into the box and we dealt with that well.

Horsham v Haywards Heath. Full-time celebrations. Picture by John Lines

Horsham v Haywards Heath. Full-time celebrations. Picture by John Lines


"I think they have had a brilliant season. They had some players missing and they can have a very big effect. I did think we were quite relentless though. We did have a little lull in the first half, but I was really impressed with our performances from start to finish, really.


"I know they had a few injuries missing Josh Spinks and Trevor McCreadie had a broken toe, but they have had such a good season."


The vast majority in the ground seemed to be backing the home side and it brought back feelings of the former glory days at Queen Street, when the Hornets attracted much larger crowds.


With a return to the town at a brand-new ground at Hop Oast next season now a reality Di Paola praised the support and hopes it's a sign of things to come.

Horsham v Haywards Heath. Tyrell Richardson-Brown. Picture by John Lines.

Horsham v Haywards Heath. Tyrell Richardson-Brown. Picture by John Lines.


He added: "It was great to see so many people there and a decent gate. It made me remember the year we were playing in Horsham and won the County League. We had some great crowds.


"They were loving it behind the goal last night and if they people that came along and enjoyed it, if that gets us 20 to 30 more supporters in the ground that's great. It really gets the guys up for it and inspires the team.


"It's great to get that back as it was always what Horsham was about. It's amazing how much that spurs a team on. It's what has happened at Worthing, they have done so well and I think that has a bit to do with the gates coming back.


"If lifts that players, as you can't hide anywhere. You can if you are playing in front of 150, but you can't do that in front of 500 to 600, there is nowhere to hide.


"I really think Worthing have benefited off that as it makes it into a proper football ground and that is something we have to come again next season."


An finally, looking ahead to Friday's final, the manager added: "We do have to draw a line under it now as we have a monumental day on Friday. We have to forgot about Monday night as it was just one game. Now it's a case of trying to focus on the next one and keep our heads about us."