Chichester City dream of more FA Vase glory
Goals from Scott Jones, Dan Hegarty and Josh Clack helped ease Chichester City into the third round of the FA Vase with a 3-0 win over Deal in a rearranged tie at Oaklands Park.
Chi boss Miles Rutherford said: “We’re delighted with the result and the performance of every player. Not just the XI that started but from number one to 14 they’ve all done what was asked of them.
“It’s rare that you get all your players doing that. And we’re happy of course to be through to the next round of the competition.”
The win has earned Rutherford’s side a trip to Whitstable Town, who they beat in the Vase last season on their way to the last 32, on Saturday, December 2.
Deal, who lifted the Vase at Wembley in 2000, were no match for an impressive home side who started the game as they meant to go on.
City captain Jack Lee, back from suspension, was in the thick of things as early as the second minute heading a Clack free kick into the path of last month’s top goalscorer Dave Herbert only for the striker to blaze over the bar.
A shot from Lorenzo Dolcetti sailed over before Jones had a chance but his on-target header caused Deal keeper James Tonkin little trouble.
Then 14 minutes in, the deadlock was broken in spectacular style by the prolific Jones whose acrobatic bicycle kick beat Tonkin after Herbert knocked the ball back following a super cross from in-form midfielder Hegarty.
Opportunities came and went for Dolcetti and Clack before a cluster of Deal players did well to block a low drive from Ben Pashley.
Chi doubled their lead on the half-hour when an inch-perfect cross from Clack was guided past Tonkin by Hegarty.
Moments later an altercation between left-back Ellis Martin and Jack Paxman resulted in a yellow card apiece. Martin regained his composure and delivered a cross which Hegarty headed over when he might have done better.
The away side started the second half stronger and City keeper Ant Ender had to palm a cross-come-shot over the bar within seconds of the restart.
A Deal free kick drifted just wide off a defender for a corner before Ender got his gloves on another shot. At the other end Jones couldn’t get his foot round a nice pass from October player of the month Kieran Hartley and then Clack, on fire all game, picked up a lovely lay-off from Herbert and went on a mazy run, although there was no end product this time.
In the 60th minute Ender had to get his body behind a well-struck shot.
Martin delivered another perfect cross which Herbert thought he’d put away but his header somehow hit both the bar and the post.
Hegarty was also just off-target with two headed efforts, Tonkin kept hold of a powerful Clack drive and Herbert spurned an opportunity after good work by Jones.
In many ways this was the Chi of last season, a side full of that old swagger but bolstered by the support of fans whose singing rang out from the first minute until the last.
Just before final whistle Tonkin brought down Jones in the box and Clack slotted the spot-kick away to the Deal keeper’s left for this third goal in four games.
Chichester: Ender, Martin, Lee, Williams, Hartley, Hegarty, Pashley, Clack, Dolcetti, Herbert, Jones. Subs (Kanjanda, Ndlovu, Haitham, Hutchings, Turnbull.