Sussex's FA Cup hopes carried by Chichester City and Eastbourne Borough

After four quickfire rounds of the 2020-21 Emirates FA Cup, Sussex is left with two teams playing in this week's this week's third qualifying round.

Monday, 12th October 2020, 10:04 am
Updated Monday, 12th October 2020, 10:08 am
Eastbourne Borough boss Danny Bloor and skipper Charlie Walker / Picture: Andy Pelling

Eastbourne Borough and Chichester City have both been drawn at home but have tough evenings ahead of them. The competition is warming up very nicely and the price of glory is starting look very attractive indeed. There is £5,625 up for grabs and a chance to mix it with the National League premier teams in the next round.

Chi have been here before

Winning FA Cup ties is becoming a natural habit for manager Miles Rutherford and his team from our West Sussex County town. Last season they coveted fame and fortune en route to the second round proper and a TV date with Tranmere Rovers on the Wirral.

Chi City on their way to victory over Cribbs in an earlier round / Picture: Neil Holmes

It was a halcyon and giddy few months for the club which was perhaps rubberstamped by a truly wonderful outstanding moment. In the first round proper draw there was a bye to be had. It was to be awarded too the last ball out of the hat. As balls came and went Chi were nowhere to be seen. Then miraculously, in front of a live national TV audience. Chi came out last. Cue wild celebrations in the clubhouse, scenes perhaps never played out prior or ever to be repeated.

Moving onto this season the team are at it again showing heart, team spirit and character. In their first game away at Basingstoke Chi were a man down but battled to a penalty shootout which they won. In the last round they faced a huge banana skin when facing county level Risborough Rangers at home. Being 1-0 down didn’t faze Chi at all as they confidently roared back in the second half.

Their reward is yet another home tie but this time they face the much-fancied Tonbridge Angels from National South. Tonbridge got their season off to a flyer, beating Farnborough in the cup and then beating Billericay away in the league. They then lost to Hungerford on home soil on Saturday.

Chi will be able to hold their heads up high whatever the result on Tuesday night as they have done Sussex proud. However, Rutherford won’t be thinking like that. He, his staff and players will looking towards a golden opportunity and my prediction is they just might find it!!!

Borough welcome Sheppey

Borough played out an extraordinary afternoon at Dorking Wanderers in the previous round. They missed two penalties during a pulsating match which ended 3-3. They then held their nerve to come through a tight penalty shootout. Chris Whelpdale was the hero with a stunning hat-trick.

Sheppey from the Kent county league are sweeping all beside them. They have been sensational in the league but have been grabbing major headlines in the Cup. Starting from the extra preliminary round they have beaten Sutton Athletic, Uxbridge, Steyning and more importantly National South team Welling in the last round. I saw them against Steyning and they displayed power, pace and most importantly control far beyond their County status. In short Sheppey are a real handful and have momentum.

If Borough come out on Tuesday evening and show their pedigree, flair, effort and professionalism from the get-go then they shouldn’t have any problems. However, any deficiencies will be pounced upon. I take Borough to avoid a banana skin, just!

Let’s hope Sussex is celebrating victories at both grounds so that Chi and Borough can take their place in the fourth qualifying round. Both teams are just 180 minutes away from a possible date with Portsmouth or Sunderland or any other team in League One or League Two.