Eastbourne Town fans refuse to be silenced as they aim to inspire their title-chasing side to victory in their Southern Combination Premier top-of-the-table clash at Horsham tomorrow (Saturday, 3pm).
Town have enjoyed excellent vocal support on their travels this season with many fans taking drums, flares, horns and even a saxophone to add to the atmosphere.
Hundreds of Town fans are expected to arrive at Gorings Mead on Saturday but they have been told not to bring anything ‘deemed dangerous’.
A Horsham club statement read, “Spectators are not permitted to bring into the ground musical instruments, drums, klaxons, air horns, whistles, fireworks, smoke bombs, flares or any other object that may be deemed dangerous.”
Town’s supporters’ group, known as Pier Pressure, are set to defy the ban and have encouraged fans on social media to travel to Horsham and bring ‘flares, smoke, drums, horns, beer, flags etc.’
Town boss Lambert responded, “I don’t know why they (Horsham) have done this, killjoys! I know we are taking good support to Horsham though.
“We will have a coach load going up, probably more, and if they think banning, drums, flares and trombones will keep them quiet, then they have another thing coming.
“Our fans have been terrific this season and have really helped us, especially on the away games. They create a real party atmosphere and the players love it.
“Obviously they didn’t want our lot going there and making more noise than their fans, maybe they thought it would give us an advantage, I don’t know. But whatever happens it’s a massive game and I know we will be well supported as we have been all season.”
Horsham secretary Jeff Barrett, added, “What we sent Eastbourne Town was a standard request and letter that we send to all visiting clubs. Eastbourne Town have decided to respond to that in their way and I think it has all been escalated by the press.
“We are not impressed to be honest. It is part of our ground regulations and we have never had any problems with any other club. I think this situation reflects on Eastbourne Town rather than us.” Asked if Town fans would be refused entry if they bring ‘non-permitted’ items, Barrett added, “We will deal with it in our way, but I’m not prepared to comment on that to the press.”
Town are second in the table, five points behind a Horsham side that have lost just once in the league this season - that was to Eastbourne Town at the Saffrons last October.
There are 12 games of the league campaign remaining for Town and while Saturday’s match will not decide the destination of the title, it could certainly have a huge bearing come the end of the season on April 23.
“It is massive and the players have to be able to handle the occasion,” Lambert added. “Horsham are full of experienced players who have been there and done it. We have to make sure we are mentally prepared for it. I know we have the talent but the lads have to show they can deal with a pressure match. If you are going to challenge and want to win titles then you have to deal with pressure.”
Lambert will hope attacking trio Jason Taylor, Nathan Crabb and Aaron Capon are fit for selection. He added, “We are hoping Nathan might be ready but Jason is a little behind in that respect.
“At this stage Jason is unlikely to start and it may be a case of him taking a place on the bench. Aaron has a sickness bug, he didn’t train on Tuesday and we are keeping him away from the rest of the lads.”