Carlisle-bound Hornets told: Enjoy every moment of FA Cup adventure
Horsham’s players and fans have been told by Dom Di Paola to enjoy every moment of their FA Cup adventure.
The Hornets are off to League Two side Carlisle in the first round of the famous old competition next month after a memorable win at home to Woking in last Saturday’s fourth qualifying round courtesy of Tom Kavanagh’s late free-kick.
There’s £20,000-plus prize money and national headlines up for grabs in the first round, which Horsham have not reached since their still-talked-about Cup second round tussle with Swansea 14 years ago, in which they took the League One side to a replay.
Di Paola is happy with the draw – feeling that the main hope in the first round is to be paired with a Football League, while the fact it is away from home turns it into a bigger payday.
Reflecting on Saturday’s win over National League Woking, the boss told us: “It was a really good day and everyone enjoyed it to the full.
“Then we had the excitement of the draw on Sunday and the lads and the fans have been loving it. We had nearly 2,000 in the ground which was was great to see and we hope many of those keep coming back.
“In the game itself, I genuinely thought we did all right. The first half was pretty even but in the second half they (Woking) improved.
“We knew they’d be a threat from set-pieces and they were but we defended well.
“Then when we got the free-kick I was shouting that the wall wasn’t back far enough. But as it turned out, it didn’t matter because Tom scored! It was a great strike.
“The longer the game went on you felt we might get a break. Everyone played well and deserved the plaudits. We all have to enjoy it while we can.” A spot in the Cup’s opening ‘proper’ round is a first for Di Paola, either as a player or manager, but a number of his players have tasted it before.
But he said the beauty of the FA Cup was that a veteran like Steve Metcalf, now 37, probably thought his last chance of reaching the first round had gone – but it had now arrived.
Carlisle are struggling in League Two – they’re one off the bottom – and some of their own fans have been on Twitter telling Horsham supporters: “You’ll beat us.”