Horsham 1-1 Swansea City
Alan Tate gave Horsham an early Christmas present this evening after gifting them a replay in the FA Cup second round.
The defender conceded a penalty just 8 minutes from time to give the non-league side a route back into the game after Bauza gave us a one-goal lead just before half time.
Prior to the match, Swansea City manager Roberto Martinez said the hosts were the favourites to progress to the third round, probably because of the upsets that can occur in this unpredictable competition.
He made 8 changes to his side that beat Hartlepool on Tuesday. De Vries was fit to play after a worrying knee injury recently. In front of him in defence, Tate started again alongside Monk and Austin replaced Marcos Painter at left back. It was a completely different midfield, Orlandi and Butler started on the wings with O'Leary and young Allen in the middle. Feeney and Bauza were the pairing up front, with Duffy left on the bench once again.
Conditions at the Atspeed Stadium were appalling and kick off was delayed by 10 minutes. There was a lot of water on the pitch and the constant rain made it difficult for the players.
After coming close to an upset in the opening round away at Billericay, the Swans needed to approach this game in a completely different attitude if they were to progress through to the third round, where potentially they could draw a Premiership side.
The match finally kicked off at 7:55pm and the Swans started very brightly. Straight from our kick-off we got forward, neat play put Feeney down the right but his shot was saved and we won a corner within the first minute.
A few minutes later, Feeney was in action again but was booked when he attempted to take a free-kick quickly on goal. Orlandi took the replaced free-kick which Feeney deflected out for a goal kick.
The Swans were playing some passing football along the surface despite of the poor conditions. Horsham meanwhile were struggling really to get any real decent chances to test out De Vries in goal.
Bauza, who was being outshadowed for most of the game by his more active partner Feeney, had his first chance on goal. It was a similar chance to the goal he scored at Billericay in the first round, he turned but his left foot curling effort went just wide of the post.
4 minutes from time though, the Spanish striker was on the scoresheet again, continueing his fine scoring run in cup competitions. Orlandi played the ball through to Feeney down the right, and Bauza struck the ball in at the far post, converting Warren's low cross.
It was what we deserved really. Having a number of previous attempts on goal which the goalkeeper were saving quite comfortably.
The sides went in at half time with the Swans a goal ahead, and our lead was quite comfortably, though with the conditions and our sometimes shacky defence, there was always a chance Horsham could get into the game after the restart.
We continued to dominate possession. We were keeping the ball well but despite of this, we weren't creating a whole lot of chances on goal. Horsham were finding it difficult to get forward, and they seemed to struggle with the conditions more than we were.
Orlandi was particularly impressive for us in the second period, and was probably our best player along with Thomas Butler.
Horsham got their first chance on goal just after the hour mark. A free kick was down deep into our own half on the right wing. Myall headed the cross in but De Vries was equal to it and made a good save going down to his right.
The Swans were still in search of a second goal to kill the game off. We really should have been 4-0 up at this stage with the amount of chances we had, but at 1-0 Horsham always had a chance of getting an equaliser.
De Vries was hardly troubled and neither was our defence, but with the state of the 6-yard area pitch, anything could happen from crosses and set pieces.
Butler did brilliantly with a chance from just outside the area. Cutting in from the left, his right foot dipping shot hit the crossbar.
Martinez then made his first changes with around 15 minutes left. Feeney went off for Duffy and Robinson came on for Orlandi. That was a strange decision I thought as Orlandi was one of our best performers at this stage. O'Leary was probably a better choice to go off, as he wasn't really contributing much to our attacking play.
We were continuing to get forward and dominate possession but we still struggled to get that 2nd goal, and we were punished for not doing so with just 5 minutes to play, we threw the game away as Horsham got an equaliser. It was hardly deserved as Horsham were hardly in the game really, but it was punishment for us for not converting our chances. Alan Tate conceded his second penalty of the season with a needless challenge on Farrell. Battling physically for the ball in the box, Tate wrestled him to the ground and the ref pointed to the spot.
De Vries was booked for arguing about the decision, he dived the wrong way as Taylor gave Horsham a replay at the Liberty Stadium.
The scoreline wasn't a fair reflection of the game but Swansea only have their selves to blame for not progressing through to the fourth round. They now have another needless game to play which will add to out forthcoming busy Christmas schedule.
Report by KevinE.
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