Chichester boss: Our best two displays have ended in defeat

Chichester City boss Miles Rutherford reflected on the end of their FA Cup dreams and said: We gave Tonbridge a good run for their money

Thursday, 15th October 2020, 10:00 am
Chi City on the attack against Tonbridge in the Cup / Picture: Neil Holmes

Three wins in this season’s competition had everyone at Oaklands Park believing they could reach the ‘proper’ rounds of the Cup for a second straight season.

But National South outfit Tonbridge Angels proved a little too strong for them, winning Tuesday night’s third qualifying round tie 2-1 at Oaklands Park.

Kaleem Haitham’s equaliser quickly cancelled out Angels’ opener but the Kent side won it with a goal midway through the second half.

Chi City and Tonbridge battle / Picture: Neil Holmes

Rutherford said the fact City were disappointed to lose to a team who played two divisions higher showed how far they had come.

“In most games this season we’ve been below our best and our best two performances have resulted in defeats,” he told the Observer.

“The best two games we’ve played were at VCD, where we ended up losing 4-1, and against Tonbridge, a game we were disappointed to lose.

“There have been other games – such as the league win against Haywards Heath last weekend – where we have not played nearly as well.

“It does show how far we’ve come if we’re upset at not having beaten a National South side.

“This group of players have been terrific for us over a long time and going up against a side like Tonbridge and giving them the game we did shows what progress we have made.”

After beating Basingstoke, Cribbs and Risborough in previous rounds City had their eye on more national headlines like those they made a year ago in getting a first round bye then playing Tranmere at Prenton Park live on TV. Now they are out, they can think about the league – in which a Gicu Iordache-inspired 3-2 win over Haywards Heath on Saturday was their first win – and the FA Trophy.

It’s the Trophy’s second qualifying round that occupies them this weekend with a trip to Brentwood. Next Tuesday it’s back to league action when Cray Valley PM visit Oaklands.

Rutherford said: “We need to brush aside recent disappointments and get on with it. We’re showing signs of hitting a bit of form.”

Ryan Davidson and Rory Biggs are both out injured but forward Callium Overton is close to fitness after a long-term knee injury.