The Hornets were knocked out of the Sussex Senior Cup in a 4-0 third-round defeat to a near full-strength Hawks side on Tuesday night.
But the trip to the Enclosed Ground against a side three divisions above them, which Horsham manager Dominic Di Paola feels would give plenty of League 2 sides a decent game, did not prove fruitless for the Hornets.
Horsham no doubt have a bigger aim this year and while a day out at the Amex would have been nice, come May it won’t be top of their wish list.
And Di Paola says he always picks a few things when watching good footballing sides, so saw the defeat as a learning curve.
He said: “I like watching good sides and I like watching them (Hawks) in general.
“They play good football and have good movement and we are not used to that at this level or even in the two leagues above.
“It’s not great for the players as they are doing doggies, but as a management team it’s good for us.
“Watching the things they do gives us things to have a think about doing and have a look at bringing in.
“Apart from Jordan Rose, who was injured, they were full strength and I think we did well to be perfectly honest.
“Had we not had a poor first 15 minutes when we looked a bit nervous and did not impose ourselves, but after that we did ourselves justice.
“It was annoying as three goals we gave them, they were poor and at bad times. The scoreline is a shame but they are a really good team.
“In my mind, I think they would beat a number of league sides - the could play decent League 2 sides and give any of them a game.”
Horsham are back in Premier Division action on Saturday when they travel to Shoreham.
The Mussels are managed by former East Grinstead boss Simon Funnell, but have struggled for form since he took over in October with a large number of new arrivals.
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