Sing us to FA Cup success, Horsham boss urges fans

Byron Napper scored in Horsham's 1-1 draw at Hythe. Photo: John Lines
Byron Napper scored in Horsham's 1-1 draw at Hythe. Photo: John Lines

Horsham have the chance to reach the FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round for the first time in five seasons when they host Chatham Town this Saturday.

The game is worth £7,500 to the victors and would take the Hornets’ cup war chest up to more than £17,000 from this season alone.

More important though will be the chance of a potential meeting with a Conference side in the next round, where they would be just one win away from a magical place in the First Round Proper - the stage at which the League clubs join the party.

The side have several injury concerns, with Ryan Marriott, Gary Charman and Jamie Cade all likely to face fitness tests on Saturday morning.

Horsham’s historic Second Round Proper replay defeat away at Swansea in 2007/08 was followed by another strong FA Cup run the following season, eventually ended by another replay, this time to Conference Premier Stevenage Borough at Woodside Road.

But since then the Hornets have lost in both the First and Second Qualifying Rounds twice and that disappointment mirrored declining fortunes which saw the club relegated from Ryman Prem.

Current manager Simon Colbran though believes the good times are on the way back and is aiming for something special for himself.

He said: “I really want people to start talking about what me and (assistant) Gary achieved, not what’s happened in the past.

“It’s tougher times now, the budget was far bigger several seasons ago and that’s not taking anything away from what (former manager) John Maggs achieved here. But life is about the present and the future and I want people to be able to start talking about what we’re doing now.”

Although Saturday’s match is being viewed as winnable with Chatham struggling in the lower reaches of the Ryman North table, they did record a strong 4-1 cup win over Ryman South side Ramsgate and boss Colbran expects a tough test. “I’ve been to watch them and I’d call them an awkward side,” Colbran said. “They work hard and are in your faces a lot of the time and won’t make it easy for us that’s for sure.”

But insisting a large Horsham support could make all the difference he added: “I’m hoping there’ll be a good crowd down there and the supporters can 100 per cent be our twelfth man.

“They make a massive difference, the players say so in the dressing room and their songs and chants really can give us that little bit extra.”

Colbran’s side warmed up for Saturday’s biggest game of the season so far with a good battling 1-1 draw away at Hythe Town on Tuesday night.

Shaun Welford put the Kent side ahead before Hornets midfielder Byron Napper levelled before half time, and Gabby Odunaike missed a good late chance to win it as the points were shared.

“It was an excellent performance at a very tough place to come, against a side who’ve beaten some really good side,” Colbran said.

l Horsham against Chatham Town kicks off at 3pm on Saturday at Gorings Mead, sponsored by Atspeed Limited, and the club welcomes any support

Factfile:

Horsham’s FA Cup progress since Swansea

2007/08: Second Round Proper: Horsham 1-1 Swansea (lost the replay 6-2 at Swansea)

2008/09: Fourth Qualifying Round: Stevenage Borough 2-2 Horsham (Horsham lost the replay at home 4-1)

2009/10: 1st Qualifying Round: Tooting 4-2 Horsham

2010/11: 1st Qualifying Round: Folkestone Invicta 4-2

2011/12: 2nd Qualifying Round: Horsham 2-3 Burnham

2013/13: 2nd Qualifying Round: Horsham 1-2 Thurrock