Mile Oak’s ‘incredible character’ ensured they reached the second round qualifying in the FA Vase on Saturday.
That is the view of manager Curtis Foster, who saw his side run out 3-0 winners in a first round qualifying tie at Southern Counties East Division 1 table-toppers Rochester United.
Despite the convincing margin of victory, the Oak boss felt his team were far from their best on the day.
However, Foster viewed the great character shown by the squad as a key component to see them through and collect the £550 in prize money.
He said: “Congratulations to my players for the FA Vase win - it was all them.
“They spent 90 minutes in the trenches together and the character was incredible.
“Sometimes that’s all you need on a day where we were far from our best.
“We had a squad of 16 who were willing to give their everything for one another and the club.
“A huge thanks to the committee and supporters who travelled with us to make it a great away day.
“We look at the FA Vase as a competition we can take the shackles off and enjoy.
“We don’t expect to win any game in any competition, but we know if we focus on ourselves then we can adapt to any opposition and that showed on Saturday.
“I wish Rochester the best of luck for the rest of the season.”
Mile Oak had to survive an early barrage of pressure before they took the lead on the half-hour.
Joseph Benn was on hand to fire home from the spot to give the visitors a slender advantage.
A fast start to the second half saw chances come at both ends.
Jack Arnold saw his effort clatter against a post before Rochester had a goal ruled out for offside.
But Mile Oak had a crucial second goal 25 minutes from time.
Jack Marriott’s brilliant saw the ball find George Rudwick, who slotted home.
Marriott then got in on the act, tapping home on 80 minutes to see Mile Oak through.
They will travel to division-higher SCFL rivals Crawley Down Gatwick in the second round qualifying after they beat East Preston.
That clash is due to take place on September 14 and will be the next time Foster’s men are in action.
Have you read?