Horsham FC v Barnsley FC in the FA Cup: Hornets gave Tykes ‘two great games’ and ‘made them work hard’ says boss Dominic Di Paola
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Horsham exited the competition with their heads held high following Tuesday evening’s 3-0 home replay defeat to the Tykes.
The League One outfit seized control of the match with three goals in the first half from Nicky Cadden and a brace from James McAtee.
The Hornets gave a much better showing of themselves in the second half after a disappointing opening 45 minutes but failed to find the net.
Di Paola said: “I’m really proud. It’s just hard to take. It’s such a tricky one because of that opening. They put us under a lot of pressure and we didn’t deal with it.
“At the moment, I’m just gutted but we will reflect on it. We’ve given a League One side two great games and made them work hard to beat us.”
Horsham markedly improved from their poor first half showing as Daniel Ajakaiye went close three times in the second period.
Di Paola was buoyed by the Hornets’ second half display, and predicted Horsham will have a ‘good season’ off the back of a spirited showing against Barnsley.
He said: “They know the drill. They’ve come off the pitch with some positivity. They did themselves proud in the second half.
“To a man, I thought we put that opening spell behind us. After 15, 20 minutes we were actually okay in the first half – not great.
“In the second half we played some good stuff but at that stage, at 3-0 up, they can sit in a little bit and they don’t have to exert themselves in quite the same way.
“The boys are okay. If they take that sort of performance in week in, week out, we’re going to have a good season and that’s a real positive.”
But Di Paola did admit he would have done a couple of ‘minor things’ differently in the Hornets’ home encounter against the Tykes.
He added: “We were expected to lose [against Barnsley], but to me there were some minor things we could have tweaked and potentially we could have got something out the game.
“It’s hard to take. You can never rewind time, but if I could I would have done a couple of things differently.
“We tried something with the forward players and I don’t think we got to grips with it in training. We didn’t have a lot of time to work on it.
“Maybe we should have reviewed that before the actual game took place and just changed it.”
Following their heroics in the FA Cup, Horsham turn their attentions to the FA Trophy and a second round clash at Bracknell Town this Saturday.
The Hornets then entertain Margate in the Isthmian Premier on Tuesday evening.