The teams last met in a friendly at the Camping World Community Stadium in 2020, sandwiched between lockdowns 2.0 and 3.0, when despite Callum Overton scoring four he ended up on the losing side in a ten-goal thriller.
The Step 3 hosts came into the game brimming full of confidence on the back of a stunning 3-3 draw away at League One high-fliers Barnsley in the first round ‘proper’ of the FA Cup, and pretty much all the players that featured in that Friday night encounter at Oakwell turned out at some point here.
Chichester on the other hand had the mid-week Velocity Cup match against Hastings United and league clash with Merstham postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.
There were just the two changes to the Chi starting XI that lined up in the 1-0 loss away at Sevenoaks with Joe Clarke coming in for Steve Hutchings up top and Kaleem Haitham replacing Conrad Honore who picked up a knock.
In a cagey opening spell Ryan Davidson was well in on Harvey Sparks after five minutes to concede a throw, and when Lucas Rodrigues beat Ben Pashley to the ball Kadell Daniel whipped over a cross which Joe Moore cut out.
Clarke, with more time than he realised, then got on the end of a probing forward pass but didn’t trouble shot-stopper Lewis Carey who performed heroically against Barnsley.
Next, Davidson was seemingly pushed by Tom Richards. Nothing doing according to referee Tim Robinson and the Hornets were awarded a corner which Clarke headed clear.
Curtis Da Costa bravely blocked a Tom Kavanagh effort on 16 minutes before Davidson got his own back on Richards with a shoulder charge.
Isaac Bello and Clarke, after good work from Emmett Dunn, then spurned chances to shoot.
Ethan Prichard and Davidson hooked up down the right as Chi pressed but when the eventual cross fell to Bello he dragged his attempt wide of the mark.
Pashley was on hand to block a shot in the 24th minute before neat play between Charlie Hester-Cook and Lee Harding picked Rodrigues for a delivery that the visitors’ keeper Kieran Magee smothered.
Hester-Cook though broke the deadlock with his first goal of three sixty seconds later when he pounced on the loose ball after a cross from the left.
Chichester might have equalised on 28 but Haitham’s attempted flick over Carey didn’t come off.
Mr Robinson waved away appeals for a free-kick after Prichard was clearly impeded on the half hour; Prichard had a subsequent cross blocked; and Daniel’s fierce effort was deflected for a corner.
It was all over effectively as a contest in a two-minute period as Hester-Cook added his and his team’s second from close range and a super pass from Daniel teed Rodrigues up to make it 3-0.
A slip by Da Costa caused Chi some problems at the back but they recovered and won their first corner four minutes before the interval which Rob Hutchings wasted.
Rodrigues then spurned a golden opportunity pulling his attempt across goal.
Prichard’s cross on the stroke of half time was dealt with easily enough and Pashley bailed out teammates conceding a corner that came to naught.
A fit again Josh Clack was introduced for Clarke at the break and Davidson fizzed in a shot on 48 which Carey somehow got behind.
Brilliant determination from Clack allowed him to get in, but a rather tame effort did little to bother Carey.
A slick move saw Daniel strike one just wide and at the other end Clack and Prichard combined for an attempt that the No11 hit way over the bar.
Hester-Cook grabbed his hat-trick on 51 with a typical poacher’s goal after the away side failed to clear their lines.
Next, Bello’s first touch let him down as he raced into a good position with only Carey to beat.
Then managers Miles Rutherford and Dominic Di Paola introduced fresh legs with Danny Barker coming on for Horsham skipper Jack Brivio and Jamie Horncastle and Olly Munt replacing Da Costa and Prichard respectively.
Just ahead of the hour mark Davidson found Bello in the box only for Sparks to make a fine challenge.
Rob Hutchings took the resulting corner and Dunn, battling for the ball with Carey, was penalised.
A low cross from Richards was safely gathered by Carey’s counterpart before Chi’s best move of the night ended in Rob Hutchings winning a set-piece after a skilful pirouette.
Dunn’s slick twist and turn led to a shot he pulled and Munt’s delivery with 20 to go was too close to Carey.
The hosts substituted Hester-Cook to a standing ovation and Daniel for Charlie Harris and Daniel Ajakaiye.
Then Bello struck the woodwork and Clack had another chance which he couldn’t direct past Carey.
Ajakaiye capitalised on a lovely through ball on 72 to make it 5-0 and Rob Hutchings’ well-timed tackle denied Rodrigues moments later.
Harris hit a chip inches over Magee’s crossbar and Chichester failed to take advantage of two fine deliveries from Rob Hutchings.
Alex Malins and James Hammond came on for Jack Strange and Sparks for the last 15 before Harris wrapped things up on 81 minutes steering the ball in off the post.
And at the death Pashley cleared up as Rodrigues danced into the penalty area; Kieran Jones replaced Bello; Horncastle calmly headed back to Magee; and Ajakaiye turned Pashley inside out only for Hammond to nod one wide.
So, Chi are out of the County Cup and Horsham welcome Barnsley for an FA Cup replay live on TV with the winners away to Sutton United in the next round. Meanwhile, Chichester are back on league travels at Burgess Hill Town on Saturday 11th November (Kick Off 3pm).
Chichester – Magee, Davidson, Rob Hutchings, Moore, Da Costa, Pashley, Bello, Dunn, Clarke, Haitham, Prichard. Subs – (Horncastle, Munt, Jones, Clack, Steve Hutchings).