Cup nostalgia: Hawks keep faith to earn Swansea replay

The Hawks players celebrate their 1-1 draw with Swansea in the third round of the FA Cup in January 2008 Picture: Dave Haines
The Hawks players celebrate their 1-1 draw with Swansea in the third round of the FA Cup in January 2008 Picture: Dave Haines
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On this weekend 10 years ago, the Hawks secured a magnificent draw at League One leaders Swansea to secure a third-round FA Cup replay at Westleigh Park.

A late Rocky Baptiste goal cancelled out Andy Robinson’s opener on 73 minutes at the Liberty Stadium on Janaury 5, 2008,to set up a mouthwatering clash on the south coast.

Rocky Baptiste celebrates his goal against Swansea

Rocky Baptiste celebrates his goal against Swansea

Of course, we all know what happened next, with Shaun Gale’s side securing a win in the replay to book a fourth-round tie at Liverpool.

But before attention turns to the 10-year anniversary of that memorable day out at Anfield, here’s how The News reported the Hawks’ 1-1 with the Swans in Wales...

HAWKS manager Shaun Gale admitted the players’ belief in their own ability helped them secure an FA Cup third-round replay against League One leaders Swansea City.

The Hawks’ sensational Cup run looked doomed when Andy Robinson let fly with an unstoppable 30-yard free-kick with 17 minutes of the game remaining.

But with Gale’s never-say-die half-time team talk still ringing in their ears, the Hawks players lifted their game one last time for the final quarter of an hour and their reward was an equaliser from Rocky Baptiste with just four minutes to spare.

‘I knew it would be a difficult tie,’ said Gale.

‘Swansea are a fantastic footballing side – they play great football – but you’ve always got to believe.

‘You’ve got to ride your luck in the FA Cup and we certainly rode our luck at times.

‘We had some chances and they scored their goal with not long to go.

‘But you keep believing and you’ve got to keep your players believing.

‘We’ve got some good players here and some good characters. And, again, they showed they can dig deep and they got what they deserved.’

Gale said his players could simply have thrown in the towel after Robinson’s late strike.

‘It could have gone one of two ways,’ he said.

‘We could have folded and ended up getting hammered or we could have done what our lads did and carry on and keep believing.

‘The sendings off possibly changed it, but it was still 10 v 10 and I always believed, between their goal and the end of the game, that we’d get one more chance.

‘You just hoped and prayed that someone would stick it away and Rocky did just that.’

Left-back Brett Poate was sent off for a two-footed challenge on Swansea substitute Andrea Orlandi just minutes after Robinson had given the home side the lead.

The challenge outraged the Swansea players, no more so than club captain Alan Tate, who was shown a red card for his involvement in the 22-man melee that followed.

Gale accepted Poate had to go, but he was far from impressed by the subsequent actions of the home players.

‘Brett possibly deserved to go,’ he added.

‘He went in with raised studs, but he’s not a nasty lad.

‘He went to win the ball and their lad made a meal of it I thought. What happened after that concerned me.

‘I thought the referee was weak because he sent one of their lads off when, for me, two of their lads should have gone.

‘They ran 20 or 30 yards to physically punch people and they should know better than that. They’re professional footballers. Their actions were pretty appalling.’

Looking ahead to the replay, Gale said Swansea manager Roberto Martinez should expect a difficult night at West Leigh Park.

‘They’ve got to come to West Leigh Park, which is a small ground.

‘We’ve got to make it as uncomfortable as we can for them again.

‘We’ll be the home team and we’ll already know what the next draw is, so who knows.

‘We opened them up at times and we’ve got players who can do that again as we’ve shown.’