The Hornets were in the Second Round of the FA Cup. Roberto Martinez and his Swans came calling.
Roberto Martinez, a highly rated young manager who had taken over at Swansea City the previous February, walked into Horsham’s Queen Street on the evening of November 30th 2007 with the praise of the football media ringing in his ears. City had just started their third season in their new Liberty Stadium, and having narrowly missed out on the playoffs the previous May despite only one defeat in eleven matches had started the new campaign superbly, with Martinez arriving in Horsham as the current holder of the League One Manager of the Month Award. His side were at the top of the table and favourites for promotion.
Horsham were the second Isthmian League club the Swans had faced in the cup this season. They’d already had a trip to Billericay Town and defeated the Blues by two goals to one.
Horsham v Swansea City, 30 November 2007
The Hornets had a far more experienced manager. John Maggs had already steered them to two promotions since taking over in November 1999, and prior to that had spent most of his life at Crawley Town, taking on a number of roles including those of manager and chairman. He described the match as “the biggest in the club’s history."
To get to this stage the Hornets had defeated Arundel by seven goals to one, Bury Town three-two, fellow Isthmian Premier side AFC Wimbledon on penalties after nil-nil and one-one draws, Chippenham Town by three goals to two, and then, in the first round, Maidenhead United by four goals to one in front of three thousand, three hundred and seventy nine fans.
The Horsham squad included a number of familiar names, but we’ll focus on one. The most experienced player, with three hundred and ninety four appearances and one hundred and twenty five goals, was a certain Gary Charman. The programme describes him thus:
‘A skilful, two-footed winger who has progressed from the Youth Team nine years ago and has been a fixture in the first team ever since. Horsham boy Gary has spent all of his career at Queen Street apart from a brief spell at Walton & Hersham in 2005-06.'
Horsham v Swansea City- note the disparity in squad sizes!
The Horsham team for the match was as follows:
Paul Seuke, Stuart Myall, Tom Graves, Nigel Brake, Kevin Hemsley, Lee Carney, Jacob Mingle, Lewis Taylor, Simon Austin (Lee Farrell 66), Carl Rook, Gary Charman. Subs Not Used: Rob Frankland, Eddie French, Andy Howard, Yinka Salaam.
The Swansea City team for the match was as follows:
Swansea City: Dorus De Vries, Kevin Austin, Kristian O'Leary, Alan Tate, Andrea Orlandi (Andy Robinson 78), Garry Monk, Angel Rangel, Guillem Bauza, Thomas Butler (Leon Britton 82), Joe Allen, Warren Feeney (Darryl Duffy 76). Subs Not Used: Jason Scotland, Dennis Lawrence.
Guillem Bauza's forty first minute goal gave City the lead, but they couldn’t find a second, kept at bay particularly by Hornets keeper Paul Seuke, who was only playing because Alan Mansfield was suspended. In torrential rain which left the City goalmouth in the second half looking like a river, Alan Tate gave away a needless penalty with a foul on substitute Lee Farrell, and with five minutes remaining Lewis Taylor slammed home the penalty to send the Horsham fans into rapture. They held out to make the trip to the Liberty Stadium for a replay on Monday 10th December.
You can watch the highlights below:
A youthful Gary Charman
City won the replay at the Liberty Stadium by six goals to two; although that was a match in which the Hornets were twice ahead. We'll feature that at at later date!