Eastbourne Borough want FA Cup excitement - but are wary of Hornets' sting
The next step on Eastbourne Borough’s FA Cup journey is short – but not straightforward.
Danny Bloor takes the Sports to face Sussex rivals Horsham in the third qualifying round taking nothing for granted.
The victors will be within 90 minutes of a high-profile and lucrative first round tie, and though the Hornets play a step below Borough, in the Isthmian premier, Bloor says there is not a hint of complacency.
“League status means absolutely nothing in the FA Cup – unless it is to give the lower-ranked club an extra incentive,” he said. “This is a one-off-game, or even just possibly a two-off if it happens to need a replay on Tuesday. Call it a cliché, but it honestly is 11 against 11, player against player.
“Get it wrong on the day, and that’s your FA Cup done for the season. We – my players, the supporters, myself – absolutely love the FA Cup. Last season’s run to the first round proper energised the whole club, and it finished with honour against Blackpool, but you never want a cup run to end.”
The Sports negotiated a tricky tie at Hanwell in the last round, while Horsham triumphed 1-0 over fancied Kingstonian in a replay – a match Bloor witnessed. “It was terrific game, really toe to toe, and Horsham were magnificent. They have an excellent manager in Dom Di Paola, and we know their squad well.”
The Hornets include several players familiar to Borough supporters, including Tom Day and the legendary Gary Charman in defence, highly-rated goalkeeper Sam Howes and playmaker Charlie Harris, who featured in Jamie Howell’s midfield.
Horsham have under-achieved so far in the league with only one win to their name, but with home advantage they will be full of fire.
But Borough won’t go defensive.
Bloor said: “We are the second highest scorers in National South – after leaders Dartford – and so far we have seen thrilling goals, own goals, penalties, late equalisers, the whole lot. I genuinely believe we are in the entertainment business. Supporters don’t want to come to grounds at our level to watch cagey 0-0 draws.
“Simply, we set up to win games of football. If we play as we did last Saturday (in a 6-0 win against Braintree) we will win more games than we lose. But if we can put the smile back, then we’re doing something right.”