They're through again! Chichester City get bye to round two of the FA Cup

Chi City at Bowers and Pitsea, where they won through to the first round / Picture by Daniel Harker
Chi City at Bowers and Pitsea, where they won through to the first round / Picture by Daniel Harker

Chichester City's FA Cup fairytale was a pretty good one already. Now it's just gone up a few levels. Incredibly they were the one of the 79 teams in the draw not to be pulled out of the hat - giving them a bye to round two.

City's fourth qualifying round win away to Bowers and Pitsea put them in with the big boys - and there were amazing, jubilant scenes in the City clubhouse at Oaklands Park as they were the last number left in the draw, meaning they get a bye.

It's because Bury FC have been thrown out of the Cup and the Football League as they battle to stay in existence. It means City get the £36,000 prize money and a place in round two - one game from a potential tie against a Premier League or Championship team.

As the number of teams in the draw got fewer the tension mounted, and there was an incredible roar from the assembled players, families and backroom staff when they were not the last team pulled out and given a match to play.

Players hugged each other, one or two had a tear in the eye and there were loud renditions of Sweet Caroline - just as there had been after the fourth qualifying round win over Bowers and Pitsea.

The draw was live on BBC2 at the home of Maldon and Tiptree FC - the only other step four non-league side alongside Chi City left in the competition.

City boss Miles Rutherford and keeper Steve Mowthorpe were invited to attend the draw, while plenty of others in the City camp are gathering at the Oaklands Park clubhouse to watch - with a BBC South Today reporter and cameraman and of course the Chi Observer present to see who they drew.

Mowthorpe said on the BBC: "It’s amazing for the club to be in the next round and obviously the prize money. Except for a big away day or a home draw it’s the best result."

Boss Rutherford added: "Definitely the best result, it’s what we wanted. It’s fantastic for the club."

Chi City chairman Andy Bell said before the draw he'd quite like to land the prize money and bye into the second round, although City would make a donation to Bury FC, whose absence means the bye is necessary, if that happened.

But Bell said he could also see the advantages of landing a big Football League club - or a game against another non-league side City would have a real chance of beating.

City assistant boss Graeme Gee was among those hoping City are paired with near neighbours Pompey, at home or away.

Everyone had a theory about what would constitute a good tie for City ... but no one was complaining when they didn't get one. It means they have got through SEVEN rounds of the Cup - and no team will be able to beat that.

Bring on round two!!!

How City won at Bowers and Pitsea - match report and video highlights

Madness! Incredible! Chi receive plaudits from all round

The draw and why Chi could get a bye

Picture special from the win that has earned a first round place

Clack and Clacket - Winger's video from the service station goes viral