Chichester City are reflecting one of the greatest days in the club’s recent history – and insisting they don’t wan ttheir FA Cup fairytale to end just yet.
A 1-0 win over Enfield courtesy of a dramatic late goal by Lloyd Rowlatt has put them in the fourth and final qualifying round of the Cup.
It’s the furthest they’ve been in the competition since 1967 and if they get through one more round their name will be in the hat for the first round proper alongside League One and League Two clubs including Pompey, Sunderland, Ipswich and Coventry.
Even if City were to go out in the next round – when they will be away to Isthmian premier side Bowers & Pitsea on Saturday week – they will have got through as many rounds as a Premier League would need to overcome to reach the final.
But they’re not thinking like that – believing they have every chance of getting through and keeping the dream alive.
A crowd of 515 packed into Oaklands Park to see City go toe to toe with higher-division Enfield and come out winners amid wonderful scenes of jubilant at the final whistle.
It comes after a whirlwind start to the club’s first season at step four of the non-league pyramid in which they have also made a good start in the Isthmian south-east division and won games in the FA Trophy and Velocity Trophy – the latest a 6-2 Velocity win at Three Bridges on Tuesday night in which Josh Clack scored a treble.
Assistant manager Graeme Gee said: “Everyone’s feeling a lot of joy and to me, beating Enfield felt like a significant point in the history of Chichester City FC.
“It’s been well-chronicled that the club was on the brink not so long ago, and this Cup run is reward for the hard work so many people have put in to turn things around. It felt pretty monumental for everyone involved, from the management and players through to the volunteers whose work is essential.
“I don’t think too many gave us a chance of coming out of the Enfield tie with the right result and that will probably be the case when we go to Bowers & Pitsea, who play in the same league as Enfield.
“Although it’s disappointing not to be at home where more of our own fans could watch, we’re not fazed by having to travel. We will respect Bowers & Pitsea, play without fear and give it our best shot. If we win, who knows what will come next? If we lose, we lose but it will not be for the want of trying.”
The trip to Bowers & Pitsea – who play at the Len Salmon Stadium in Basildon – is scheduled for Saturday, October 19.
This weekend Chi go to Barton Rovers in the FA Trophy – another competition in which they’re making history, never having played in it before.