Records could be broken and Emirates FA Cup dreams could really begin to come alive when the Hornets travel to Kingstonian this Saturday.
It’s been three years since we last made it through to the third qualifying round of the World’s greatest domestic cup competition, with defeats against National League opposition at this stage in consecutive years halting our progress.
Though it may not be Dartford or Havant & Waterlooville this time round, the high-flying K’s present another difficult task for Dom Di Paola’s injury-stricken charges.
Our Isthmian Premier Division rivals, who we’ll visit again, in the league, in just 12 days time, currently top the table having won five of their opening six games; their first defeat coming on Tuesday night after losing 3-1 to Wingate & Finchley.
A manager who strives for perfection, Hayden Bird will not only want to make up for that loss, but will surely also be seeking revenge from last year when the Hornets dumped his side out of the same competition almost exactly a year ago.
On that occasion, a 2-1 win at Hop Oast sent Horsham through, despite us finishing with ten-men on the field.
Much like ourselves, Kingstonian needed a replay to qualify for this stage, and it was as comfortable as they’d have liked, demolishing Oxhey Jets 8-1 to confirm their place in this round.
Meanwhile, two records could be smashed in as many weeks at King George’s Field, whom they groundshare with Corinthian-Casuals. Last week, goalkeeper Rob Tolfrey, himself a former Hornet, broke the K’s all-time appearance record – a feat which could be replicated by the opposing side this week.
After equalling Mark Stepney’s 23-year record on Tuesday night, Gary Charman is now just one game away from becoming Horsham’s outright record appearance holder.
No Horsham player has scored more FA Cup goals than Gazza and, judging by the number of casualties we appear to have at the moment, that record-breaking appearance could very well be on the cards.
Alex Laing, Shamir Fenelon, Will Miles and Tom Day were all forced off with injuries on Tuesday night, and Di Paola will be hoping to recall Jack Brivio, Rob O’Toole and Lucas Rodrigues to help bolster the squad following their short and long-term absences.
But Dom has already moved to cover up some gaps with Charlie Hester-Cook’s loan from Dorking Wanderers officially being extended until the end of the year. The midfielder made a noticeable impact last month and we’re sure supporters will be happy to see him back.
Tickets for this match cost £10 for adults, £6 for concessions and £4 for students, while all under 18s go completely free.
Kick off at King George’s Field (KT6 7NA) is 3pm and we’d love to see as many of you as possible backing the boys.
But for those who can’t make it, you can keep up to date, as usual, by following our live feed on Twitter (@HorshamFC).
Of course, if the match ends level, the two teams will regroup for a replay. If required, that match will take place next Tuesday (September 21st).
Can the Hornets go one step further, and can a non-league legend make even more history? Find out this Saturday.