Matt Axell is so glad he shelved plans to hang up his boots.
The 35-year-old midfielder was all ready to go out on a high after helping Chichester to the County League title last season but then had second thoughts.
Axell, who signed from Horsham prior to the 2018-19 campaign, told the Post: “I was pretty adamant I wasn’t going to play this season.
“Last year was going to be my last year and I thought winning the league would be a good way to stop but then I decided to carry on and then this happened!
“I am pleased I carried on as I would have been pretty annoyed looking on if I had given up now.”
Axell has enjoyed a successful non-league career, doing a County League double with East Preston and also enjoying success with Worthing.
But nothing compares to this.
He said: “This is the highlight by a long way.
“I have achieved quite a lot but this is something that has passed me by. To play in the FA Cup second round, having got to the third qualifying round three times, is clearly the highlight.”
Axell, nursing a hamstring injury, stayed on the bench in Chi’s dramatic 3-2 BetVictor South East win at Phoenix Sports last Saturday.
City went ahead through a 32nd-minute Kaleem Haitham strike and the hosts were reduced to ten men just before the break when Kenny Alireu was shown red.
Lloyd Rowlatt doubled City’s lead with a header but Phoenix hit back with two goals in three minutes through Jeff Duah-Kessie and George Whitelock before Connor Cody grabbed a 78th-minute winner.