Horsham’s hopes of an extended FA Cup run were quietly snuffed out when visitors Sittingbourne won 2-1 following a thrilling 1-1 draw on the Saturday. The Hornets managed to serve up one of their worst performances of the season in front of the biggest crowd that had filled Queen Street for many years. What was worse was that the Kent League side played 68 minutes of the match without their highly talented forward Carl Laraman. The former Southern League Dartford and Crawley striker was booked after twenty minutes for comments to the referee and shortly after received his marching orders for ‘foul and abusive language’ after a tussle for the ball with Martin Ellis.
Sittingbourne found a new hero, though, in Peter Ambler who scored twice in two minutes after the break to rock Horsham back on their heels. The sending off was virtually the only bit of interest in a dour first half which saw a Steve Cooling free-kick just tipped over and Horsham skipper Terry King cleared a shot off the line. The two goals were killer blows, though, as Ambler managed to squeeze in a shot from a narrow angle and then volley home after Horsham keeper Chris Porter had only half-punched the ball away.
Sittingbourne might just as well have had twelve men playing for all the use Horsham made of a man advantage. They failed to mark tightly or to use the extra player on the wings to stretch the defence – as they were instructed to do at half-time. The only times they did, Bobby Burse scored from Mark Stepney’s cross and substitute David Smith forced a good save out of the goalkeeper.