Chichester City hope an FA Vase run will help get local football fans flocking to see them at Oaklands Park.
They are through to the first round after a 3-1 win over Sheppey at the weekend – which made them the last Observer-area team left in the competition.
With City also going well in the league, the club are seeing a gradual but only slight increase in crowd numbers. But they are still not getting as many as they would like.
Manager Miles Rutherford says his team are playing some entertaining stuff and now hopes greater consistency week in week out will see local support grow.
Scott Jones’ double and a Graham Bush goal clinched the win in Saturday’s FA Vase second qualifying round game and set up a first round tie away to Hampshire side Ash United, from the Combined Counties League, on October 22.
Rutherford said: “I thought we deserved to win. Sheppey were a bit of an unknown quantity for us but we played well and earned our place in the next round.
If you can’t have a home game, you don’t want to be travelling too far and Ash is fairly close for us.Miles Rutherford
“It’s been a pretty good start to the season but I am looking for a run of good performances and victories. There are a few players struggling with their own form and we need more consistency throughout the squad.
“I don’t think we’ve hit the heights of the end of last season yet but we need to do that, especially in the league.
“Although we’ve been in the top four, you look at Shoreham winning all eight of their games so far and you realise how good you have to be in order to challenge at the top.
“There are a few very good teams in the division who won’t drop many points and we want to keep pace with them.”
Rutherford said getting through two rounds of the Vase was good for the club and further progress could only be a further boost.
Coming through the two qualifying rounds has earned City £1,050 - and beating Ash would top that up by another £675.
Rutherford said of the draw: “If you can’t have a home game, you don’t want to be travelling too far and Ash is fairly close for us. I don’t know much about them and I’d imagine it will be a tough game.
“We’ll take a Vase run as far as we can. It’s extra games, it’s money for the club and it can help momentum.
“If it helps get more people through the gate, great. We wish there were more people watching us, though each game seems to see a few more.
“We’ll try to do our bit by playing good football and scoring goals, but any support from local people is welcome.”
Rutherford challenged Saturday’s goal hero Jones to take his cup exploits into the league - which he did on Tuesday night, scoring in the 1-1 draw at Loxwood.
“He’s scored two in each of the Vase games and got two in the FA Cup. But he’s not 100 per cent fit yet so I’m hoping in time we’ll see more league goals from him.”
Chi host Horsham YMCA on Saturday for a tussle between seventh and sixth. Then Storrington visit Oaklands on Tuesday in the Sussex Senior Cup.
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