He felt they did enough to earn a win at Bognor on Saturday, when they needed a 94th-minute equaliser to salvage a 2-2 draw. Yet he said it was a much poorer performance that ended in a 2-1 win in their Sussex Senior Cup quarter-final at home to SCFL premier side Saltdean on Tuesday night.
Di Paola praised his players for battling to the end at Bognor – and getting the job done with ten men against Saltdean.
Now he hopes a week on the road – with away games at Cheshunt on Saturday and Hornchurch on Tuesday – will be the first step to the Hornets securing enough points to make sure of their Isthmian premier division status.
At Bognor, Tom Richards’ injury-time equaliser clinched a dramatic point. Earlier Tom Kavanagh had pulled Horsham level from the spot after the Rocks’ opener, only for the hosts to regain the lead 13 minutes from time. The point left Horsham 13th, ten points in front of the bottom three.
Di Paola said: “I thought we deserved to win. We could have had a couple of penalties other than the one we got and watching back on video, a goal that was chalked off for offside shouldn’t have been.
“Having said that when you’re 2-1 down in injury time you’re glad of anything. I can’t fault the players – they were excellent in much of what they did, and against a good side.”
The Hornets claimed a Senior Cup semi-final spot – with Worthing, Three Bridges and Eastbourne Town or Brighton U23s the others still involved – by overcoming step five Saltdean.
Goals by Eddie Dsane and Harvey Sparks put them 2-0 up but ex-Hornet Kieron Pamment got one back and Will Miles was sent off for a second yellow. Di Paola said: “We’ve ,been really good for a number of games we’ve not won but this time I thought we won when we were poor. At two up we switched off terribly to let them back in it, but with ten men we got away with it.
“Two good cup runs are part of a good season but what we need now is to focus on the league and get the 15-20 points we need to make sure we’re in this league next year.”
Injuries and illness continue to affect Di Paola’s plans with three with Danny Dudley, Charlie Hester Cook, Chris Sessegnon and Shamir Fenelon all struggling.