I'm backing Horsham to cause an FA Cupset and put out Carlisle

There has been some fascinating stories surrounding Sussex in the FA Cup this season. Now comes what could be the best of the lot.

Friday, 5th November 2021, 10:45 am
Horsham celebrate the win over Woking that set up the trip to Carlisle / Picture: John Lines-Horsham FC

Both Whitehawk and Hastings United have pulled off giantkilling acts along the way. However there is just one non-league Sussex team left, Horsham FC, who have been battling away for four rounds and now face a daunting trek to the other end of the country v Carlisle United at Brunton Park.

In the 1st qualifying round they needed a replay to get past a stubborn Haywards Heath. They needed another replay to get past fellow Isthmian Premier outfit Kingstonian 1-0 after that. In the 3rd qualifying round, Horsham and National South Eastbourne Borough played out a very exciting 2-2 draw at the Camping World. Then in yet another replay it was Eddy D'sane who put Horsham through with the only goal of the game. The away support was very strong that evening with the Lardy Army belting out all their classic songs.

That win set up a wonderful opportunity against National League side Woking at the Camping World Stadium. Over 1600 fans filed through the gates, a new record for the the new ground. As both teams toiled away for 87 minutes it looked for all money that the tie would have to be replayed back in Surrey.

However, Tom Kavanagh had other ideas as he sized up a dangerous free kick. As the ground held its breath he stepped up and curled the ball into the net to bring delirium and wild celebration all around. Horsham were also counting out the huge FA prize fund of £9,375 for winning the tie. All in all a very good day for the club!

Next day all club connections eagerly tuned into the live 1st Round Proper draw from Wembley Stadium. Kelly Smith and Wes Morgan did the honours. It wasn't long before League Two Carlisle came out the hat followed seconds later by Horsham of the Isthmian Premier League. There must have been a shared feeling of shock and disbelief in the hand dealt by those pesky balls. Brunton Park is a 340-mile trek from West Sussex.

The Hornets have now had some time to adjust and get themselves ready for a massive adventure this weekend. They will be able to put everything on hold and concentrate on getting up to Cumbria and try to produce a giantkilling act. Quite honestly with Carlisle facing a huge relegation battle in League Two it does appear that the Hornets do have more than a fighting chance of pulling off something very special indeed.

United have been on a very poor run in the league recently losing to Northampton, Tranmere, Bristol Rovers and Forest Green. Confidence will be at a low point and it's without question all Carlisle connections will be worried about facing non-league opposition in the FA Cup. Losing to Horsham would underpin a dreadful start to season 2021/22.

For those Hornet fans making the trip this weekend I send you all huge messages of good luck and a safe journey. Please make sure to drink in the experience as it will go around in a flash. Take time out to have a good look around Brunton Park as it is one of the most iconic old-school stadiums in the country. At 17,000 it has the highest non-seater capacity in England. There are loads of nooks and crannies where bits and pieces have been added since its opening in 1910.

The most recognisable part of the ground is the Warwick Road End with its unique triple triangle roof. Don't forget to take some photos and selfies in the ground as I do not expect you will be passing that way again any time soon!

The whole Sussex footballing family will be tuning into the exploits of Horsham as they take on a mammoth trip up to the north-west, just shy of the Scottish Borders. The Hornets are flying in the FA Cup this season and will want the adventure to continue further. Along with a massive £22,200 prize fund there is also national recognition, TV rights, fame and glory up for grabs. Let's go Horsham.