Sutton United v Horsham FC in the FA Cup: Hornets have shown what they’re capable of in cup run says boss Dominic Di Paola
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The Hornets – who were making their first appearance in the second round proper since 2007 after first round opponents Barnsley were expelled from the competition due to an ‘administrative error’ – exited the tournament after a 3-0 defeat at League Two basement boys Sutton United.
Horsham upset National League outfit Dorking Wanderers and held former Premier League club Barnsley to a thrilling 3-3 draw as they equalled their best-ever run in the grand old competition.
And Di Paola has challenged his players to replicate their FA Cup heroics in the Isthmian Premier as they chase promotion to National League South.
He said: "I don’t think anyone will ever forget the Barnsley away trip, and for an hour today I thought we were really good as well.
“It [the FA Cup run] has been good. We’ve shown what we're capable of as a group.
“I’ve said to the boys that we’ve got to take this sort of stuff into our league campaign and then if we do that we’ll be okay, we’ll have a good season.
“The boys have been great. No matter who I’ve put out over the eight or nine games [in the FA Cup], they’ve done great things for us and I hope the supporters will look at it as a really good FA Cup campaign.
“We’re always looking to progress as a club on and off the pitch and we’ve got a really good group of boys this season.
“I think all these extra games are going to cause us some problems later in the season with fatigue and injuries, but whilst we’ve got this squad we’re going to keep going.
“Our aim is to always do better than we’ve done previously, or to break some club records, and this is another one – to be able to get to a second round game.”
Sutton broke Horsham hearts in the with second half with goals from Dion Pereira (2) and Omari Patrick – and the Horsham boss said fitness and fatigue eventually proved the difference between the two sides.
Di Paola added: “I don’t think the boys were disgraced but in the second half we just dipped too much.”
“They really made us work tonight and, as the game went on, we suffered a little bit and got fatigued a little bit too much.
“I’m just disappointed really that we couldn’t come away with something. Some of the things that we’re good at we didn’t do today. Some of our possessions weren’t really good today and when we got into good positions, especially in that first half, we didn’t make the right decisions.
“Then, when you're playing a side of this calibre, they’re going to make you pay for not capitalising on those opportunities.
“I think the frustration comes in the second half. I’m not annoyed with the boys or anything because they tried their best, but we just didn’t get going second half.
“I feel that Sutton just got on top and, when they did get on top, I don’t think we dealt with that particularly well.”