HORSHAM 1 Swansea City 1
Queen Street, Horsham
Friday 30th November 2007
FA Cup Second Round
Referee: Kevin Friend

What a night ! The ageing Queen Street ground had never experienced anything quite like this. 2700 supporters packed inside the rain-soaked arena, Premiership standard floodlights, television cameras covering every angle, a European Cup Winner in the stands, Horsham players' names emblazoned on the back of their shirts, international players in abundance on the pitch and the thrill of a late equaliser for the home side that shook the ground to its core all helped to make Horsham's first ever appearance in the FA Cup second round an occasion that will live long in the memories of Hornets fans around the world.

Good luck messages had been coming in all week from exiled Horsham supporters in such far flung places as Australia, the USA, Canada and New Zealand and, with further emails received from the likes of the Turks and Caicos Islands, the Ukraine and New Mexico, one could be excused for shaking their head in disbelief at this latest chapter in the club's long history. Despite the 100 places that separated these two sides, the match was seen as having the potential to provide a famous giant-killing by John Maggs' side and Sky TV sent their huge entourage of lorries, cables and commentary team of former Nottingham Forest hero Garry Birtles and Alan Parry to capture the events while, in the opposite stand, Steve Claridge sat alongside the BBC's Mark Pugatch to add a feeling of surrealism to the whole affair. 

How appropriate it was that, in its final season as a footballing venue, Queen Street was to host the biggest match in Horsham Football Club's 126 year history. Yet, for so long, it looked as if the weather would ruin the day with rain teeming down hours before kick-off and continuing throughout the course of the match, only relenting half an hour or so after the final whistle. That the game was to be screened to a global audience was clearly a contributory factor in the match being given the go-ahead although, had it not been for a huge tarpaulin-style covering on the pitch during the day, it is unlikely that referee Kevin Friend would have given his consent.

The visitors arrived having taken over the leadership of League One during the week, thanks to a 1-0 win against Hartlepool United, and boasted an impressive away record of seven wins in ten matches this season. For the Horsham faithful, Northern Ireland international Warren Feeney was the most recognisable name among the Swansea line-up and was making his second trip to Horsham in three months after being a part of Nigel Worthington's squad who trained on the pitch prior to their European Championship travels in September. Feeney is currently on loan from Championship side Cardiff City and, in Andrea Orlandi, has a team-mate who has spent the last two seasons at Barcelona for whom he made four first team appearances. Swansea's Spanish born manager, Roberto Martinez, has a trio of fellow nationals in his squad with former Spanish youth international Guillen Bauza looking to add to the two goals he scored to knock out Horsham's League rivals Billericay Town in the previous round. 

Goalkeeping issues had been a concern for both managers ahead of the match with the suspended Alan Mansfield's deputy, Paul Seuke, having spent part of the week in bed with a virus and the Swans' Dorus de Vries and David Knight both struggling with injury. Maggs was also given a scare when Lee Carney went down with 'flu like symptoms the day before the game but both he, Seuke and De Vries were cleared to play. Martinez had been quoted as claiming that the occasion would make Horsham the favourites to win the tie but that didn't stop him from making eight changes to the side that beat Hartlepool United, albeit with injury stripping him of the services of Dutch under 23 midfielder Ferrie Bodde and 19 year old Paul Anderson.

The troublesome pitch covering left the expectant crowd waiting a further 15 minutes before play could get underway but it only heightened the fervour and, as the players entered the arena, the ground erupted into a crescendo of noise. It took the visitors just sixty seconds to create the first chance, Orlandi breaking through the middle and setting up Angel Rangel whose pass to Kristian O'Leary was laid in to the path of Feeney but his right foot shot was pushed round his near post by Seuke. There was excitement at the other end when a long throw from Stuart Myall bounced dangerously in front of Carl Rook and Simon Austin but De Vries was able to grab the ball before either player could apply a telling touch. Seuke's poor clearance put his side under pressure and Jacob Mingle's foul on Butler presented the Swans with a promising free-kick position. Feeney strode up to pick his spot, just inside the right-hand upright, but Seuke was equal to it, diving full length to palm the ball away to safety. The incident, though, saw both players punished; Feeney with a yellow card for taking the kick too early and, more worryingly, Seuke collided with his post, hitting his head. Tellingly the 'keeper was able to continue after lengthy treatment and the retaken free-kick came to nought. Seuke was to go on to enjoy the game of his life !

Swansea were enjoying the better possession during the early stages but every tackle and forward pass by the home team was greeted with encouraging cheers, although Rook's enthusiasm earned him a word of warning from Mr Friend. A corner by Orlandi saw Seuke hold on to Alan Tate's header but a slip from the Spaniard enabled Horsham to engineer an attack that saw Austin test De Vries' handling in the slippery conditions, the Dutch under 21 international comfortably holding on to the dipping shot and an intended pass from Austin gathered too much pace ahead of Carney inside the box. A great tackle by Rook sent Brake scampering away down the left only for his run to be crudely ended by Angel's challenge but Carney uncharacteristically wasted the resulting free-kick and a deep cross from Myall was headed behind by Gary Charman at the far post as Horsham continued to compete well in the difficult conditions.

Although the players were managing to retain their balance on the muddy surface, conditions favoured the sliding challenge and Hemsley's mistimed lunge presented Swansea with a further opportunity to score but Butler's strike was pushed away by Seuke and Feeney fired the rebound wide. A tremendous surging run by Lewis Taylor down the left flank opened up the Swans' defence but Austin let the ball run away from him, from a promising position, to the disappointment of the home fans who showed their disapproval when Bauza's stray boot caught Tom Graves in the face. De Vries showed his athleticism when he raced from his line to head clear a dangerous through ball from Carney and another strong run down the left by Butler saw the ball fly across the face of Seuke's goal. Tate sent a header just over the top from an Orlandi corner as this blood and thunder cup tie continued apace. A misplaced pass from Mingle gave Butler the chance to play Bauza in but he blazed high and wide before a fine move by the Hornets brought the fans to their feet when Charman's excellent run and pass picked out Taylor in space and the midfielder's low drive was well held by the diving De Vries as the noise levels were cranked up another notch.

The deadlock was broken, three minutes later, when the impressive Orlandi found Feeney on the edge of the penalty area and his fine turn and cross was clinically despatched by Bauza at the near post to give the Swans a lead that, although harsh on the Hornets, the visitors probably deserved and was fair reward for the 200 or so fans who had suffered a torturous 6 hour journey from South Wales. The home supporters, desperate for some cheer before the break, had an optimistic shout for a penalty for handball against Swans' skipper Gary Monk rightly turned down and, despite good work from Charman to keep the ball alive inside the visitors' penalty area, half-time came with just Bauza's goal separating the two sides.

H/T Horsham 0 Swansea City 1

Horsham retook the field with the strong wind having changed direction and now blowing directly into their faces and a clearance by Hemsley swirled behind his own goal to give Swansea an early corner from which Orlandi exchanged passes with Feeney before powering in a shot that Seuke saved superbly at his near post. Bauza controlled a cross on his chest before creating the space to shoot but his effort was off target as Swansea looked to put the tie to bed in the opening minutes of the half. Charman, so often criticised for not having the appetite for the big occasion, beat three men during an excellent run down the flank but his ball into the box was cleared, as was a pass by Taylor, as the hosts struggled to break down the Swansea rearguard.

The League One side should have doubled their lead in the 55th minute but Bauza's header, from another Orlandi corner, was brilliantly blocked by Seuke from close range to keep the tie alive. Bauza wasted an even better opening, moments later, when Butler's chipped pass saw the former Espanyol striker skip away from Hemsley and round Seuke but Graves heroically spread himself to prevent the ball from entering the unguarded net and Butler's long range shot was, once more, turned away by Seuke who was clearly showing no ill effects from his earlier collision. Despite the pitch cutting up badly, especially through the middle, Horsham were gamely sticking to their passing game and trying to use the flanks where possible but it was Butler who was providing the inspiration for the visitors, busily making himself available and attacking Myall at every opportunity. But, when he cut inside the full-back, he found Seuke an unbeatable barrier, parrying the ball to safety after an hour's play.

Horsham's failure to make the most of any free-kicks had been a disappointing feature of their game but, when Taylor took over the dead ball responsibilities, his well flighted cross found the surprising figure of Myall whose downwards header gave De Vries an uncomfortable save. With 25 minutes remaining, Maggs played his trump card, removing the understandably dejected Austin and sending on Lee Farrell but it was Swansea who continued to create the better chances with Seuke getting down well to hold a Feeney shot before the Northern Ireland international blazed another half chance over the top. Charman tested De Vries with a low shot from a neat lay off by Taylor to remind the visitors that this game was far from won. Taylor's influence was increasing in the Horsham midfield and Butler was booked for pulling his shirt while a delicate chip over the defence from the same player just ran away from the predatory Farrell.

Butler almost conjured up a sensational second goal for the Swans in the 75th minute when he collected Feeney's pass out wide on the left and cut inside and curled a tremendous shot that finally eluded Seuke only to crash away off the crossbar. Feeney's involvement was cut short when he was replaced by Darryl Duffy but, before the substitute had even touched the ball, Charman's strength had seen him barge Angel off the ball and curl a speculative shot wide of the far post. Duffy's fresh legs soon left Graves behind but his shot was deflected wide off of Hemsley for a corner. A further substitution followed, Andy Robinson for Orlandi, as Martinez tried to run down the clock but the sub was slow to react as Taylor burst through from midfield to set up Farrell for a shot that he dragged wide. Duffy continued to look lively up front but he could only send a right-footed shot well wide when closed down by Graves.

Seuke's fine form continued to deny Swansea and a superb double save, ten minutes from time, saw Tate and Duffy frustrated and he deserved his luck when, from the resulting corner, his misjudgement left  Bauza with a golden opening but he headed wide with the goal gaping and the hosts were left to fight on. Swansea played the last of their substitutes, sending on Leon Britton for Butler, but within two minutes Horsham were handed a lifeline when they were awarded a penalty. A clipped pass by Myall landed at the feet of Farrell who was held back by Tate leaving the referee in no doubt as he immediately pointed  to the spot. There was a lengthy delay while Taylor dug out the penalty mark and De Vries was booked for his protests as his gamesmanship incensed the home fans. Constant encroachment from his line, mud thrown at the ball and a verbal assault were all designed to distract the penalty taker but Taylor , who missed from 12 yards in the shoot-out against AFC Wimbledon earlier in the competition, stayed calm and ran up to slot the ball home before sliding off towards the corner flag where he was joined by his overjoyed team-mates.

With the pitch now resembling a glue-pot, neither side could put their foot on the ball but persisted with their attacking mindset but home fans were left amazed when the fourth official indicated a further five minutes of added on time to be played. They needn't have worried as Horsham finished the game the stronger, their tails clearly up following the goal, and they chased and harried every ball making a mockery of the League One side's supposed superior fitness. Monk's timely interception prevented Taylor from latching on to Rook's pass and there was time for one final scare for the hosts when the ball stuck in the mud on their own six yard line before being hacked clear and, moments later, Mr Friend's whistle signalled the end of a pulsating cup tie and arguably Horsham's finest ever result. How and when the pitch recovers from the battle scars is anyone's guess but, for now, the players, officials and supporters can look forward to Sunday afternoon and a place in the third round draw of World football's most famous Cup competition.

1.Paul Seuke
2.Stuart Myall
3.Nigel Brake
4.Tom Graves
12.Kevin Hemsley
6.Lee Carney
7.Jacob Mingle
8.Lewis Taylor
9.Simon Austin (Farrell,66)
10.Carl Rook
11.Gary Charman
5.Eddie French
14.Lee Farrell
15.Andy Howard
16.Yinka Salaam
17.Rob Frankland
Taylor pen (84)
21.Dorus De Vries
3.Kevin Austin
4.Kristian O'Leary
5.Alan Tate
10.Andrea Orlandi (Robinson,78)
16.Gary Monk
22.Angel Rangel
23.Guillem Bauza
28.Thomas Butler (Britton,82)
32.Joe Allen
35.Warren Feeney (Duffy,76)
7.Leon Britton
9.Jason Scotland
11.Darryl Duffy
15.Dennis Lawrence
18.Andy Robinson
Bauza (41)