The FA Cup is the oldest domestic cup competition in the world. The financial rewards the competition offers for progressing further into the competition are life changing for non-league.
Which is why it makes no sense that Chester lack ambition in the FA Cup every single year.
A 2-0 loss to National League North side Kidderminster Harriers has meant that the Blues have been dumped out of the competition, at this stage, for the third consecutive year, and for the fifth time since reformation in 2010.
Goals from Emmanuel Sonupe and Joe Ironside ended the Blues fans’ hopes for yet another year after, without doubt, one of the worst and most effortless performances I’ve seen since that reformation.
In a game dominated by Harriers, it was no surprise that they started the better, Croasdale and Ngwatala both having efforts easily dealt with by ‘keeper Alex Lynch.
Then the hosts struck first on 19 minutes, an Ngwatala effort striking the post before Sonupe tapped the rebound into an open net. Harriers were 1-0 up and deservedly so.
Chester attempted to fight back into the game, an Andy Halls cross met by captain John McCombe, who’s header looped narrowly over the crossbar.
Harriers attempted to double their lead, a lovely run from Wright beat several defenders before being eventually cut out. Harriers held a very comfortable lead at the interval.
The home side continued to make a mockery of the lacklustre Blues defence, Elton weaved his way in and out of four challenges and, with Chester defenders strewn across the Aggborough pitch, put his shot wide.
Chester’s best chance of the half came on 54 minutes, Lathaniel Rowe-Turner’s excellent cross found the head of substitute Jordan Chapell, who put the ball wide.
Chester enjoyed a spell of pressure afterwards, this time a corner found midfielder Paul Turnbull who’s effort was blazed over the crossbar.
Then, on 79 minutes, Harriers finished off the tie. Sonupe turned creator and delivered the ball on a plate for Joe Ironside to head in off the post. “You’re not fit to wear the shirt” echoed from Aggborough’s away end, a sight for sore eyes on the pitch.
As the full-time whistle blew in Kidderminster, the loud cry of happiness from the home support was quickly overcome by the boo’s from the 522 travelling Chester faithful.
Manager Marcus Bignot gathered his squad and staff for his usual post-match huddle in front of the Chester support, later saying that ‘the players needed to hear the fans’.
Dozens of Chester supporters stayed until 15 minutes after the final whistle to make their feelings known, whilst a few gathered at the players’ entrance to speak to Bignot about the horrid performance.
‘Some people said I should have brought the players off, but why hide? They have got to face up to it. We have got great supporters and it was never going to be a case of stewards being worried that this could escalate, no, they were voicing their opinion.’
‘I believe my players should hear that opinion.’
Attendance: 1896 (522 Chester)
Chester fans, what do you make of these problems? Let us know in the comments below!