At last! Chichester City taste FA Cup success

Callum Overton makes it 1-0 / Picture by Neil Holmes
Callum Overton makes it 1-0 / Picture by Neil Holmes

Two Callum Overton goals and another late on from fellow summer signing Jamie Horncastle helped Chichester progress to the next round of the FA Cup at Oaklands Park.

Football’s oldest knockout competition has proved something of a challenge to the Oaklands Park outfit in recent years - they've fallen at the first hurdle for the past three years - and it’s six decades since the club reached the first round proper of the Cup when they played Bristol City.

City celebrate / Picture by Neil Holmes

City celebrate / Picture by Neil Holmes

City boss Miles Rutherford said afterwards: "I was very pleased with the way we played and I was just as pleased that we finally came through an FA Cup game as the winners, as this was playing on my mind from three years of failure in the extra preliminary round.

"We have a very strong squad which I am delighted with and we are now focusing on the start of our league campaign."

Overton and Horncastle featured in a new look Chi side for this extra preliminary round tie alongside former Moneyfields players keeper Steve Mowthorpe and midfielder Lloyd Rowlatt who lined up with Horncastle and Matt Axell in the centre of the park.

City stalwart Ben Pashley partnered Ryan Peake in the heart of the defence with full backs captain Connor Cody and Rob Hutchings. Josh Clack and Kaleem Haitham joined Overton up front.

And it was Haitham who had the first clear cut chance of the game after barely five minutes when he beat the offside trap only to have his goal-bound effort blocked.

Clack then went close with a shot on the turn before an Axell free kick was headed away to Rowlatt who fired over.

Man of the match Axell combined nicely with Rowlatt in City’s next attack but Dockers keeper Adam Molloy got his body behind Rowlatt’s strike. Axell wasn’t far off after good work down the right flank by Cody before the hosts took a deserved lead when Overton controlled the ball superbly on his chest and found the back of the next with a clinical right footed finish on 14 minutes.

The visitors forged opportunities of their own. A backwards Dan Nash header drifted wide from a long throw; Steadman Callender sent in a dangerous cross that just alluded skipper Michael Power; and Danny Phillips stung Mowthorpe’s gloves.

The equaliser came mid-way through the half when Callender latched on to a clever flick from Phillips. The two players were in the thick of things eight minutes later but this time Callender couldn’t find the target.

Three chances came and went as Chi pressed before the break. First Rowlatt had a header turned over after a precision cross from Overton, then Molloy tipped away a Clack shot before Axell curled an effort wide.

HT 1-1

Chichester regained the lead five minutes after the interval when Overton’s persistence paid off after he nicked the ball past keeper Adam Molloy.

The visitors might have levelled again sixty seconds later but Henry Dasofunjo hit the woodwork.

Molloy then denied Clack with his feet before the City No.7 lifted a shot over the bar after Overton teed him up.

It was all Chi now. Axell and Clack had efforts deflected for corners, Molloy did well to turn away a super strike from Horncastle and saved with his feet again when Cody had a go.

In the 86th minute Molloy was called on once more to palm away a shot but Horncastle got to it first and headed the ball in from close range.

City might have added a fourth in the last minute of normal time after substitutes Scott Jones and Gicu Iordache linked up only for the Romanian’s drive to fizz narrowly wide.

Next up in the competition for Chichester are Charlton based Bridon Ropes but before that they face a stern test in their first league match in the Bet Victor Isthmian League South East Division away to Ramsgate on Saturday 17th August (3pm Kick Off) and then a home fixture against Whyteleafe on Tuesday 20th August (7:45pm Kick Off).

Chichester: Mowthorpe, Cody, Hutchings, Axell, Pashley, Peake, Clack, Horncastle, Overton, Rowlatt, Haitham. Subs: Lewis, Biggs, Iordache, Jones.

* Seley put up a brave fight but lost 2-1 in their FA Cup extra preliminary round tie at Tower Hamlets.

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