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Horsham boss Di Paola – 'For the local community and our supporters it was a brilliant day'

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Dominic Di Paola hailed a ‘brilliant day’ for Horsham and their supporters as they officially opened The Camping World Community Stadium with a 3-1 friendly victory over Crawley Town of the Football League on Saturday.

Chris Smith’s deft chip gave the Hornets a shock lead before Reece Grego-Cox’s thunderous strike restored parity before half-time.

But a second-half Kieran Lavery double ensured that Horsham secured a famous win on an historic day for the club.

Di Paola said: “For the local community and our supporters it was a brilliant day.

“We’re quite detached from it because we’re the actual team. We’re there all the time so we take it for granted.

“But for everyone else connected with the football club it must have been special, especially ones that have never been to the ground before.

“To walk into that stadium on Saturday would have been a massive buzz for them.

“Seeing a big gate and people queuing for beers and kids running around wearing the Horsham kit and trying to get signatures from the players is amazing.

“I think it’s what the club’s needed for so long so hopefully some of those people that came and watched on Saturday will keep coming.”

READ MORE Horsham v Crawley Town picture special | Horsham 3 Crawley Town 1: Hornets mark official ground opening with stunning win over Reds | Lack of depth in Crawley Town’s squad is exposed – Geoff Thornton
Horsham went toe-to-toe with their higher-level opposition and ended up prevailing over a side who are three divisions above them.

Although Lavery bagged two goals – including a sensational curled effort that made it 3-1 – and new boy Zack Newton gave the Crawley defence a torrid time, Di Paola preferred to focus on a complete team performance.

The Hornets manager added: “The most pleasing thing for me, not so much the individual performances, but that we worked really hard out of possession.

“Our shape work was pretty good and our structure was getting there which is what we needed to do as we’ve got a few new boys.

“I don’t think it’s fair to highlight anyone. I think it’s only a pre-season friendly at the end of the day.

“We really got what we wanted out of it. The fact that they train everyday and they’re super fit so they can get after us and press us.

“It was good and we were really grateful that they came down. They had a mixed squad together but at least there were some first team players in there.

“It was just a different challenge. They’re so sharp on the press and they’re so sharp in the traps they set, it was great for us to have that sort of challenge.”

Horsham travel to Eastbourne Town this (Tuesday) evening (7.45pm) in their fifth pre-season friendly match.

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Crawley Town

Crawley Town v Port Vale: Reds hunt for first league win since October

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John Yems will take charge of his first home game as Crawley Town head coach this Saturday as the Reds entertain Port Vale.

Yems’ first game in charge ended in a 0-0 draw with Stevenage, in a game that Crawley would’ve felt they had the better chances to win the game.

Bez Lubala had the best chance to win it for Crawley as he raced in one on one, took it round the keeper only to lose his footing as he faced the open goal.

Ashley Nadesan also had a good chance to win it for Crawley in the first half as he raced in one on one but his left footed shot was a tame effort, which was comfortable for Stevenage keeper Paul Farman.

This week Crawley will look to go one better and pick up a victory at the People’s Pension Stadium but know they’ll be in for a tough task against a Port Vale side who sit tenth in League Two and just a few points off the play-offs.

Vale have been much improved this season following a poor campaign for them last season. However, so far this season it has been the away form which has let Port Vale down, as they’ve picked up just nine points on the road out of a possible 30 so far this season.

Compared to their 19 points out of a possible 30 on home soil it’s a very poor record for Vale and one they’ll be looking to change if they are to have a chance of claiming a play-off position this season.

READ MORE ‘I am devastated to be leaving my role as Operations Director at the club’ – Kelly Derham leaves Crawley Town | Former Crawley Town owner will not offer ‘financial support’ after Derham dismissal | Crawley Town Supporters’ Alliance’s statement after meeting with vice chairman
Despite their poor form on the road their only two wins away from home this season have come against teams in the play-off places, in the form of Crewe Alexandra and Bradford City. This shows that Port Vale are a good side and Crawley will have to be back to their best in order to pick up a much needed three points.

Crawley need to return back to winning ways, as they haven’t picked up a victory in the league since the 2-1 win over Colchester United back on October 12.

That’s over two months since Crawley tasted league victory in what’s been an extremely poor run for the side.

However, last week their were some promising signs out of John Yems first game, despite him only having two days to work with the squad before matchday.

Crawley can only build on and improve from their performance last week and look to end 2019 picking up some more points and beginning to climb the table again.

Yems has said the whole squad will be used over this Christmas period, which produces lots of games for Crawley, so their could be a few changes to the line-up as Yems looks to establish his strongest starting eleven.

Crawley will be looking to grab a much needed victory to boost the squads morale and give the players and fans a much needed confidence boost heading into this busy fixture period.

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Crawley Town

Crawley Town ‘confident’ Port Vale game will go ahead as normal following speculation

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Crawley Town are confident there game against Port Vale on Saturday go ahead despite speculation there is ‘chaos’ at the club, according to a source.

The club this week terminated the contract of operations director Kelly Derham and the news has caused unrest amongst the fans and reportedly the staff.

The Straight Red CTFC podcast tweeted today: “ Inside source: “Chaos” at Crawley, Staff threaten walkout, No stadium safety approval, Match could be played behind closed doors Saturday. What. Is. Happening ”

But when when we approached the club for a comment, a source told us that that there would a safety check in the morning, which is normal procedure and they are ‘confident it will be fine’.

The source at the club also told the Crawley Observer: “There was no staff walkout at all. As all staff members are in jobs and will be for foreseeable future. The safety group will meet in the morning for the game.”

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Horsham to celebrate amazing year with fun-filled family day

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Horsham will be marking the festive season, and celebrating an incredible year with a ‘Christmas Bonanza’ at The Camping World Community Stadium this Saturday.

2019 has been a remarkable year for the Hornets having earned promotion into the Isthmian Premier for the first time in seven years with a 2-1 play-off final win over Ashford United.

They have also moved into their own ground for the first time since 2008 and are enjoying life in the Premier, currently sitting in third.

Kicking off proceedings at 1.45pm, the club are hosting a children’s party in which all youngsters will receive a gift from Howie the Hornet, generously provided by Tesco and Sainsbury’s, have the opportunity to create Christmas tree decorations and have a dance at the junior disco.

The main event takes place at 3pm when the Hornets face East Thurrock United as they look to return to winning ways. Supporters are invited to stay behind in the clubhouse for food, music, and to watch Southampton v West Ham United on the big screen.

READ MORE Depleted Horsham ‘did brilliantly’ in top-of-the-table clash at Folkestone Invicta | Loxwood and Broadbridge Heath share spoils after moving tribute | Horsham YMCA ‘learn their lesson’ in winning return over Alfold

The new social membership cards, which supporters can use for discounts at the bar and club shop, and for function room bookings, will be in use from Saturday’s game onwards.

Full season and half-season ticket holders can get theirs for free. Find out how to apply on horshamfc.co.uk.

The club are also welcoming non-perishable food donations as part of it’s appeal in aid of The Trussell Trust – a nationwide network of more than 1,200 food banks that provide emergency food and support to people in poverty.

If you can help with a donation, please come along on Saturday and pass your items to members of Horsham’s Youth squads who will be collating the collection.

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