CHICHESTER City’s focus is firmly on promotion after the side cruelly lost out in the last 16 of the FA Vase.
Miles Rutherford’s side pushed 1874 Northwich all the way as they competed in the latter stages of the national knockout competition for the first time.
But, despite an excellent performance, Chi conceded a last minute goal to the Cheshire side which sent them to a 1-0 defeat and ended their fairytale run.
It meant their dozens of fans and officials completed the 480 mile round trip from Witton Albion’s home wondering and wishing what could have been.
But with City still firmly in the hunt for the SCFL Premier title, Rutherford said the better team won on the day.
He said: “I’ve got no complaints whatsoever. We’ve got beaten by a very, very good side. They kept the ball, they made us work hard.
“We had some nerves and some players that hadn’t played in that sort of game before. It’s obviously a learning curve for them.”
The scoreline could have been even greater were it not for the form of Chi goalkeeper Ant Ender. He made two or three excellent saves to repel the attackers from the North West Counties Premier side.
Chi did have chances, Kieran Hartley hitting the woodwork from 30 yards and Lorenzo Dolcetti spurning two chances.
But it was 1874’s quality which finally won through.
Rutherford said: “If Northwich played down in our area they would be playing a lot higher than the county league. From one to eleven, I didn’t see a bad player.
“They had two players in the middle of the park who could play two, three leagues higher than they are at the moment.”
Chi’s disappointing week continued on Tuesday when they suffered a 2-1 reverse at Haywards Heath in the fourth round of the Peter Bentley Cup.
Dave Herbert put City in the lead before two late strikes for the Blues saw them crash out of a second cup competition in the space of four days.
9Chi, who are still third in the SCFL Premier, host East Preston tomorrow (3pm) looking to keep up the pace in the title race.