Football Management & Technology

Herne Bay v Horsham: FA CUP PREVIEW


The Hornets will look to replicate their impressive early league form when they take on Herne Bay in Saturday’s Emirates FA Cup 1st qualifying round tie.

Monday’s 4-0 defeat of Bognor Regis Town took our points tally into double figures after our opening five Isthmian Premier Division matches, incredibly four more than we had accrued by the time last season’s epic FA Cup run had come to an end at Carlisle United at the first round stage!

And while Dom Di Paola has admitted that league progress is his primary focus this season, and despite pointing to the exertions of that cup journey as a contributory factor in last year’s poor start to the campaign, he is expected to take a strong team to the Kent coast where his players will come up against a Herne Bay side still adapting to step three football following last season’s promotion.

Having finished third in Division One South East, Bay upset the odds by winning 2-0 away to second-placed Ashford United in the play-off final to take their place at the Isthmian League’s top table for the first time in their history, no mean feat considering that they were playing Kent League football as recently as ten years ago.

Ben Smith’s side recorded their inaugural Premier Division victory away to Haringey Borough in the first week of the season and although picking up just one more point since, from a 1-1 draw with Kingstonian, single goal defeats to Potters Bar Town, Bowers & Pitsea and Folkestone Invicta would suggest that they could prove a tough nut to crack.

As well as the challenge of stepping up a level, Bay have had to deal with the handicap of playing all their games away from home while a new 3G pitch is installed at their Winch’s Field base. Overrunning ground works meant the match with Kingstonian had to be played fifteen miles away at Ramsgate and that is also the case for Saturday’s FA Cup tie, meaning the Hornets will have travelled close on four hundred miles in little over a week, following last Friday’s trek to Margate!

Despite Herne Bay’s relatively recent arrival in the Isthmian League, tomorrow will be the thirtieth occasion on which the two clubs have met competitively – and the fifth in the FA Cup. It was in the Athenian League that the sides first locked horns, with Horsham winning eight and drawing one of the twelve meetings between 1966 and 1973, while the tables have turned slightly in the last decade with Bay earning maximum points six times to Horsham’s four.

But while we recorded a memorable 5-2 FA Vase success back in 2000, it’s been a different story in the FA Cup where our opponents have an unblemished record. As a Kent League side, Herne Bay upset the form book by knocking us out of the competition in 1989, 1993 and 1996 before dishing out a humiliating 5-2 defeat during the first of our two year stay at Lancing.

More recently, the Hornets recorded a more favourable result the last time the two sides met, securing a 3-2 away victory on our way to achieving promotion to the Premier Division via the play-offs in 2019.

Midfielder Tom Kavanagh is expected to rejoin the squad, having sat out the bank holiday defeat of Bognor with concussion after a blow to the head at Margate, but fellow midfielders Jack Brivio and Charlie Hester-Cook remain sidelined through injury.

Supporters are reminded that the club is running a coach to the match, departing the Park & Ride at 10:45am, at a return fare of £15 bookable by emailing or calling 01403 458854. Anyone wishing to purchase match tickets in advance may do so here.

£12 adults
£7  concessions (over 65 & disabled)
£5 U18s
£2 U12s

For those driving to the game, the match will be played at WW Martin Community Stadium, Prices Avenue, Ramsgate, CT11 0AN where there is ample free parking. Ramsgate rail station is approx 10-15 mins walk.

Anyone unable to  travel can follow events via twitter @HorshamFC

Main image: action from the last time we met Herne Bay, 13th April 2019





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