For a man who had missed from the spot in a penalty shoot-out earlier in the competition, Lewis Taylor showed a commendable lack of nerves at the Atspeed Stadium last night to send Horsham into the draw for the third round of the FA Cup.
Taylor's penalty six minutes from time ensured that the Ryman League Premier Division side will go into the hat tomorrow alongside the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United. Even if Swansea will be the clear favourites to win their second-round replay, the League One leaders will take nothing for granted after this experience.
Swansea, who were clearly the superior team, had taken the lead five minutes before half-time, but paid the price when Alan Tate pulled back Lee Farrell. Taylor, a landscape gardener, dug deep to hold his nerve and score the most important goal of his career.
If ever there was a match that had the ingredients of a Cup upset this was it. There may be four divisions between the two teams, but Horsham have won all but one of their home league matches this season and earned a reputation as a decent footballing team. Playing in front of Sky's live TV cameras, the part-timers knew that this was the first occasion in the Sussex club's 136-year history that they had played at this stage of the competition.
More than anything, the conditions were clearly in the non-League team's favour. The ground has two tiny stands (only one is seated) and although the playing surface is the pride and joy of the groundsman John Maggs who is also the team manager and commercial manager the pitch took a fearful battering from driving rain both before and during the match.
Not that Horsham played to the conditions. To their credit the part-timers kept to their passing style, although it was an hour before Dorus de Vries was truly stretched, the Swansea goalkeeper diving to keep out Stuart Myall's glancing header. Horsham's approach work had been neat, but they lacked a cutting edge in the final third.
Swansea's quality on the ball was evident and the League One side looked dangerous down the flanks. If Andrea Orlandi's ball skills took the eye on the right, Thomas Butler's ability to run with the ball posed an even greater threat on the left. Warren Feeney's fine run and cross created the goal for Guillem Bauza, who scored at the near post from eight yards.
Paul Seuke made smart saves in the second half from Butler and Gary Monk and when the Horsham goalkeeper was finally beaten, Bauza dribbling round him after being put through by Butler, Tom Graves made the saving tackle. Minutes later Butler beat Seuke with a dipping shot from 25 yards only to be denied by the bar. Most of Horsham's efforts were from long range, but the part-timers never gave up and finally got their reward.
Horsham (4-4-2): Seuke; Myall, Hemsley, Graves, Brake; Carney, Mingle, Taylor, Charman; Austin (Farrell, 65), Rook. Substitutes not used: Frankland (gk), French, Howard, Salaam.
Swansea City (4-4-2): De Vries; Rangel, Monk, Tate, Austin; Orlandi (Robinson, 76), O'Leary, Allen, Butler (Britton, 81); Bauza, Feeney (Duffy, 76). Substitutes not used: Scotland, Lawrence.
Referee: K Friend (Leicestershire).Reuse content