Metropolitan Police 1 Horsham 1: FA Cup replay for Hornets after hard-fought draw

Horsham's Chris Smith. Picture by Steve Robards
Horsham's Chris Smith. Picture by Steve Robards

Horsham will host Metropolitan Police in a FA Cup first qualifying replay on Tuesday (September 10) evening after a 1-1 draw at the Met this (Saturday) afternoon.

Chris Smith put the Hornets ahead on 12 minutes but Oliver Knight levelled on 59 minutes. The Police were reduced to ten men on 68 minutes but The Camping World Community Stadium outfit couldn't find a winner.

Dominic Di Paola made three changes from last week's 1-0 home defeat against Folkestone Invicta. Joe Shelley returned to the side along with Alex Kelly and Rob O'Toole. The trio took the place of Jerry O'Sullivan, George Hayward and Kieran Lavery. New signing Kieron Pamment, who has joined from BetVictor Premier Division rivals Lewes, had to settle for a place on the bench.

The Old Bill had the game's first chance on four minutes as Knight headed narrowly wide from a corner.

Met then rattled the crossbar on nine minutes. From a tight angle, Jack Mazzone fired off a shot that crashed against the bar.

But despite the hosts early pressure it was the Hornets who took the lead on 12 minutes. A long throw managed to beat everyone apart from Smith at the back post who prodded home to make it 1-0 to the visitors.

And Horsham had the ball in the back of the net again three minutes later but the effort was adjudged to be offside.

The Hornets came agonisingly close to doubling their advantage on 25 minutes. A well-crafted Horsham attack saw Harvey Sparks play in Smith. The goalscorer sent a first-time cross into Zack Newton but the Met Police defence managed to hack the ball off the line.

The visitors were on top for the majority of the first half but the Police still carried a threat on the counter. Met came close to levelling on 36 minutes as Ayoub Assal's intended cross almost beat Hornets keeper George Bentley.

Horsham had the first chance of the second period. On 48 minutes Newton's weak shot was spilt by Met keeper Charlie Burns. Smith was quick to snaffle up the rebound but could only steer his shot from a narrow angle across the mouth of the goal.

The Hornets threatened again on 53 minutes. A slick passing move saw the dangerous Smith drill a powerful strike across goal.

Bentley was forced in to a terrific sprawling save on 57 minutes to keep Horsham ahead. Skipper Ollie Robinson put Assal through one-on-one with Bentley but the Hornets keeper spread himself wide to prevent the Old Bill striker from equalising.

Horsham didn't heed this warning as Met Police levelled two minutes later. A superb ball from Mazzone found Knight at the back post and the midfielder headed home to make it 1-1.

The Hornets almost regained their lead on 65 minutes. Marvellous work from Lee Harding saw the substitute play in Smith. The goalscorer drove a powerful ball into the box but it just evaded the onrushing Newton.

The Police were then reduced to ten men three minutes later. Jordi Nzozid brought down Smith and was given his marching orders after a second yellow.

But Met weren't fazed by the sending off as Robinson headed over the bar after a whipped cross from the left on 77 minutes.

Pamment made his Horsham return on 82 minutes, replacing Sparks, as the visitors went in search of the winner.

But it was the Police who had the best chance to snatch the win. A mistake from Charlie Harris saw Met counter four on one with a minute to go. Rhys King had a pop at ball but Bentley was on hand to save the shot and spare Harris.

The full-time whistle brought an end to a hard-fought FA Cup encounter, teeing up a replay at The Camping World Community Stadium on Tuesday.

Horsham: Bentley, Mills, Sparks (Pamment 82), Harris, Shelley, Miles, Dawson, Kelly (Brivio 79), O'Toole (Harding 51), Smith, Newton. Unused: Metcalf, Merchant, Rance, James.

Referee: S Finnigan

Attendance: 143