Picture special: Horsham’s FA Cup heroics - five years on

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Five years ago this week, Horsham had come down with a severe case of FA Cup fever.

The Hornets had reached the Second Round of the FA Cup for the first time in their history and the reward was a home tie against League 1 leaders Swansea City.

HOR 101207 Swansea v Horsham -photo by steve PAYNE

HOR 101207 Swansea v Horsham -photo by steve PAYNE

A frantic rush for tickets ensued, and the cup tie - which went to a replay after a 1-1 draw - is still a big talking point around the town.

And for goalkeeper Paul Seuke, who was man of the match in the first game at a rain lashed Queen Street, it was a high point in his career.

“It still seems like it was yesterday,” Seuke, who was given his Horsham debut with Alan Mansfield suspended said. “People still ask me about it and I have watched the DVD a couple of time since. And when you look back at it, even though the conditions levelled it out a bit, we still played some really good football.”

A late Lewis Taylor penalty forced a replay, cancelling out Guillem Bauza’s first half opener. And at the Liberty Stadium, cheered on by more than 400 visiting fans, the Hornets gave Roberto Martinez’s men a scare when Lee Farrell twice gave them the lead and Lee Carney was denied a first minute penalty - before the Swans won 5-2.

He added: “It could have been a different story if we had that penalty. The whole experience, and having the Horsham fans there was fantastic, even though the result did not go our way.”

Then manager John Maggs called the run to the second round the highlight of his managerial career.

He added: “The buzz around the town was tremendous. The crowd was restricted to around 2,500, and we could have sold treble that. It gave the town a massive lift. I was so proud of the team and their efforts, they were all playing at their peak.”

The Hornets banked more than £150,000 from the two games thanks to Sky Sports’ live coverage, although that came at a cost, with £15,000 spent on a pitch cover to thwart the forecast heavy rain, while work had to be done to allow temporary floodlights to be installed.

Chief executive John Lines said: “If you talk to anyone in Horsham and mention you are involved with Horsham FC, it is the first thing people talk about. It did create a huge buzz which lasted for the rest of the season.”

And for Mark Wells, who manages the club website hornetsreview.co.uk, it was a special time to be a Horsham fan.

He said: “I became inundated with emails from well-wishers across the globe as the days leading up to the tie became a very surreal experience indeed.

“Messages from Australasia, the Americas, Asia, Afghanistan and even the Ukraine and Turks and Caicos Islands came pouring in as the global appeal of this David v Goliath tie grew ever larger.”