Chris O (follow on Twitter: @COakleyFtbl)
Sat 5 January 2008

SPAOTP's Road to Wembley: FA Cup 3rd Round Proper

Today we arrived in Round Three of the 2007/08 FA Cup (sponsored by E.On) and in case you haven't been with us on our Road to Wembley so far, we're following Swansea City as they faced Havant and Waterlooville.

Round Two certainly proved to be an eventful one for us as our adopted team at the time were Horsham FC. They played Swansea City at home and earned a commendable 1-1 draw. Unfortunately the replay at Swansea's Liberty Stadium proved too difficult for them as The Swans thrashed the The Hornets 6-2, so once again we wave our old team goodbye and welcome aboard a new one and our first on the Road to Wembley from the Football League.

Swansea City are currently flying high in League 1 and are currently occupying top spot in the table thanks to an impressive recent run of form. Their last defeat came on November 16th at home to Huddersfield Town and since then they've notched up seven wins and two draws, so it's no surprise manager Roberto Martinez won the Coca-Cola League 1 Manager of the Month award.

He must have been feeling pretty confident when the draw for the FA Cup 3rd Round pitted them against Conference South side Havant and Waterlooville. That said, Swansea City have come a cropper in the past when playing supposedly weaker opposition in the Cup. Nuneaton Borough knocked them out in 1967 and 1994, Margate did it in 1973, Minehead did it in 1977 and Bognor Regis Town beat them in 1985, so would there be another upset today?

It was a distinct possibility. Swansea have had trouble replicating their league form in the FA Cup this season as the replayed match against Horsham proved. Even the previous round wasn't straight-forward for Martinez's band of men as they left it to the last half an hour to come back from 1-0 down to win 2-1 against Billericay Town.

So who could he rely on to score a goal or two today? Well his top scorer in all competitions so far in 2007/08 has been Trinidad and Tobago striker Jason Scotland (or is that Scotland striker Jason... oh never mind...) He's put the ball in the net thirteen times so far this season, plenty more than fellow team members Paul Anderson (8) and Andy Robinson (6) but goals have been going in from all over the place of late so there didn't seem to be much cause for concern.

What was a concern was The Swans knack for conceding goals. For every two they've scored in the league, they've let one in so today's game was always going to be tricky. Just how did they get on, then?

Well Swansea started off the brighter of the two teams as shots from Darren Pratley, Jason Scotland and Leon Britton all hit the crossbar, but a hard-fought match failed to produce any goals until the 74th minute when Andy Robinson scored from a 30-yard free kick.

You'd have put your house on Swansea to wrap the game up, especially when Havant's Brett Poate was sent off for a two-footed tackle on Andrea Orlandi five minutes later, but it caused tempers to be raised between both sides and Swansea's Alan Tate also saw red shortly after. The game had lost its flow but Havant and Waterlooville turned it to their advantage as Rocky Baptiste seized on a defensive mistake to equalise with three minutes left.

The game finished a 1-1 draw and the two teams will now meet again for the replay at Westleigh Park on Wednesday 16 January. Swansea will be pleased not to have been knocked out by lesser opposition, but they'll feel they should have won after dominating so much of the match. Can they finish off the job in eleven days time? Watch this space to find out...

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