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Horsham's FA Cup replay win had Di Paola 'pulling his hair out'

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Dominic Di Paola revealed he was ‘pulling his hair out at times’ during Horsham’s heart-stopping 3-2 FA Cup first qualifying round replay win over Metropolitan Police on Tuesday night.

Bilal Sayoud fired a marvellous swerving 20-yard strike past George Bentley to make it 1-0 Met on nine minutes.

Harvey Sparks equalised three minutes before half-time. The defender’s cross-cum-shot ended up flying into the top corner to level.

Chris Smith coolly slotted past Met keeper Charlie Burns to make it 2-1 on 48 minutes before the game ended in high drama.

The Old Bill levelled with ten minutes to go as Luke Robinson expertly curled the ball into the top corner. But, at the death, Smith, on the goal line, chested the ball home to spark pandemonium at The Camping World Community Stadium and set up a second qualifying round tie at home to National League South side Dartford on Saturday, September 21.

Di Paola said: “We made hard work of it but I thought we played some lovely football and created great chances. If we score some of those, the game’s pretty comfortable.

“When we missed those chance I said it was going to come back and haunt us and it did, and it always does. If you don’t take your chances, you have a massive chance of throwing things away.

“It was stressful, not straightforward, and I was pulling my hair out at times. It was a relief to get the win and get through to the next round.”

READ MORE Loxwood punished for ‘naivety’ after late equaliser denies them first league win | Steyning hope to see Ryan Timms ‘back soon’ following health ‘scare’ | FA Cup heartbreak for Horsham YMCA but Buckland praises ‘excellent performance’

Smith’s double saw the forward bag his seventh goal in as many games in all competitions for the Hornets in 2019/20.

The former South Park and Burgess Hill Town man has enjoyed an electric start to the season and Di Paola was full of praise for his contribution against the Met.

The Hornets manager added: “I think everything about his game was brilliant. I thought he was absolutely outstanding and you have to say fair play to him.

“There’s more to come from him but if you get the ball in the box you always have a chance with Smudge, because he’s got that natural finisher’s mindset. You can’t coach that.

“We’ve got lots of goal threat, and I’d never highlight someone, but I think he played really well”.

The Hornets played in front of a midweek crowd of 445 against Met. The attendance was made doubly impressive due to the game kicking off at the the same time as England’s televised World Cup qualifier with Kosovo.

Di Paola hailed the replay as the ‘the best atmosphere at the new ground by a mile’ and called on the club ‘to keep growing’ their burgeoning support.

He added: “I thought that was the best atmosphere we’ve had at the new ground by a mile. It was lively and felt like a proper football match in a proper ground, which is great.

“Last night the kids were there, cheering and shouting, and we’ve just got to keep growing that side of it.

“We need to make our home ground really feel like home, on and off the pitch, so it feels like Horsham Football Club and not just a facility”

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Horsham YMCA take full advantage of AFC Uckfield Town implosion for victory

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Horsham YMCA assistant manager Julian Miller admitted AFC Uckfield Town’s second-half implosion ‘made it easier’ for his side in their 3-1 win over the Uckers on Saturday.

Tayler Maddock and Sam Cooper both received red cards while Dean Stewart-Hunter and Ellis Cormack were both sent to the sin-bin in a tumultuous second half which saw the visitors playing with just eight men for a short period of the game.

Johden De Meyer (centre) looks to jink through the Uckers defence

Johden De Meyer (centre) looks to jink through the Uckers defence

Miller said: “It was a really funny game because we missed a lot of chances and let them back in, and then, once we got going again, they got ill-disciplined and it was a lot easier than it could have been.

“Once we were playing against ten, then nine, then eight, we just kept the ball really well, stretching them.”

Miller also believes his side had a big impact on the visitors’ two red cards. He added: “We were putting them under so much pressure so we caused a lot of it.

“That made it easier for us but we pressured them into making these tackles because they couldn’t get anywhere near one or two of our players.”

Guy Harding looks to win the ball in an aerial duel

Guy Harding looks to win the ball in an aerial duel

The tenth-placed Uckers began relatively well, handling the threat of a home attack with the best scoring record outside of the SCFL Premier Division’s top five without too much early trouble.

YM broke the deadlock in the 29th minute as Maddock felled a home forward and Dean Carden fired the resulting penalty into the top right corner.

READ MORE Horsham YMCA overcome nine-man AFC Uckfield Town – picture special | Steyning Town stall Peacehaven’s promotion push with victory | Sussex and Horsham hotshot top scores for England U19s in defeat
The hosts exerted their control before the break, but the Uckers still went close as Maclean almost met a Bailo Camara cross on the stroke of half-time.

The introduction of Dee Okojie at the restart proved pivotal when his 60th minute cross found Cormack who prodded a header home to equalise.

Adam Hunt battles with an AFC Uckfield Town player for the ball

Adam Hunt battles with an AFC Uckfield Town player for the ball

While the Uckers would’ve expected to push on, the events of the next ten minutes removed all hopes of winning.

The away side self-combusted when Maddock was first shown a second yellow, then Matt Daniel put the hosts 2-1 up in the 65th minute, and Cooper was also awarded a second booking to add to Stewart-Hunter’s sin-bin soon after.

YM had full control thereafter and confirmed victory as Daniel bagged his second – and 21st of the season – in the 83rd minute, before Cormack was also placed in the sin-bin in the final few minutes.

Horsham YMCA: Jeal, Carden, Evans, Donaghey (Lovegrove 82), Harding (Gibbs 50), Hunt (Gedling 74), Lemon, Dugdale, Daniel, De Meyer, Clarke. Unused: Pavlovic, Eales.

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Crawley Town

Birmingham City recall goalkeeper from Crawley Town loan spell

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Crawley Town goalkeeper Michael Luyambula has today (Monday) been recalled by his parent club, Birmingham City.

Luyambula has been recalled by the Blues in order to obtain more game time this season.

The 20-year-old joined the Reds on a season-long deal on July 12.

Crawley would like to thank Luyambula for his historic performances in a Reds shirt, most notably against Walsall, Norwich City and Stoke City in the Carabao Cup.

The Reds wish Luyambula all the very best in his future career.

READ MORE Consistency is something rarely seen with the current squad – Crawley Town opinion | If it’s not broken, then don’t fix it – Crawley Town opinion | ‘We have got to dust ourselves down and get ready for next week’ – Crawley Town’s Sendles-White

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Horsham YMCA overcome nine-man AFC Uckfield Town – picture special

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Adam Hunt battles with an AFC Uckfield Town player for the ball

Adam Hunt battles with an AFC Uckfield Town player for the ball

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