Miles Rutherford felt a lack of quality in the final third cost Chichester City of a place in the last 16 of the FA Vase.
Scott Jones’ header was all they had to show for their attacking efforts as Western League outfit Buckland Athletic won 3-1 in front of a crowd of around 300 at Oaklands Park.
The City boss admitted he was disapointed to go out to a team he felt his own players matched in many areas – and he challenged the Chichester squad to go on to secure a top-three finish in the Southern Combination premier to make up for their Vase exit.
It was City’s joint best run in the Vase – they also reached the fourth round in 1995-96, when they lost at home to Thamesmead, coincidentally going down by the same score as Saturday, 3-1.
And all at the club can be satisfield at the way the Vase run has helped them in their efforts to put Chichester City on the map and become more prominent in the community.
Rutherford said: “I’m a little bit disappointed. They had a little bit more quality in and around the 18-yard box. Their delivery of the ball into the box was better and when I look at the whole game, in the first 85 minutes before we went gung-ho, they only really had three chances and they scored all three.
“We got into just as many good areas to deliver the final ball but it didn’t really happen for us, so the difference between the two sides was that their delivery was better than ours.
“Both defences struggled to contain the other side’s forward line. We worked hard and gave as good as we got but it was never a 3-1. They will be happy to have come away with a 3-1 win.
“The first goal, he’s struck from 30 yards and it’s gone in the top corner. You can say there was some poor defending leading up to their second and third goals.
“Their second was a counter attack and the third was a calamity for us - there were two errors from us in the build-up.
“When we made it 2-1 I thought we were going to come back and get a result - that was what it looked like. Then we were undone by a sucker pnch.
“At 2-0 I felt we were in it. Two-nil is never a comfortable lead because if the other team gets the next goal you’re under pressure. But Buckland coped with that and, credit to them, they got the result.
“Some people on the sidelines were saying it could have been 6-6 and yes it could have been. But I’m just disappointed it has finished 3-1 and we didn’t show as much quality as them in the final third.”
Rutherford said reaching the fourth round – something that earned the club £3,400 – was something the team could be proud about.
“We’ve done well as a club this season - in the Vase and in the league. I think we’re over-achieving a little but we’ve got some decent players here,” he said.
“It does seem in the really big games, some are turning up more nervous than they should be. I’m trying to drum into them to go out and express themselves and play as well as they can.
“We’ve got to get our chins up and go again. I’ve said to the players that we’re third in the league at the moment and I think we should be doing better than that. If we don’t finish in the top three I don’t think we’ll have achieved what we should.
“We’re chasing second and looking what the teams above us do, and where we can finish. We’re not in any other cups, which is probably a good thing at this time of year as the pitch has taken a battering.”
City return to SCFL premier-division on Saturday with a home game against Peacehaven.
Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking sports news where you live.
Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be among the first to know what’s going on.
1 Make this website your homepage
2 Like our Facebook page at facebook.com/pages/Sport-Sussex
3 Follow us on Twitter @SportSussex
4 Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.
Share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!