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Chester FC's FA Cup exit a blow but let's not forget what went before it

The positivity had returned prior to Southport and defeat shouldn't be start of the decline

Simon Marshall
Action from Southport v Chester in the FA Cup fourth qualifying round

For the pessimist, Saturday was very much a case of normal service resuming for Chester FC .

Success, pah, that's for others to enjoy. We're well used to falling short, it's what we do, isn't it?

But while we endured our now annual FA Cup fourth qualifying round misery there were plenty of reasons to be positive that were overlooked.

An abject display for 90 minutes, yes, but it is important not to lose sight of what had gone before the defeat at Southport and the magnitude of what had been achieved.

There has been an apathy around the club for some time now, a disconnect between the club and fans that detiorated from the midway point of last season right through to the opening day.

Jon McCarthy was tasked with leading us to better things over the summer but because of his ties with Steve Burr it never felt, to some at least, that he was fresh eyes and fresh ideas. He has been, though.

Southport 1 Chester FC 0: Match in a minute

His job has been tougher for a new manager than most. Having to win over the fans from the get go is a tough gig and the current road hasn't been without its bumps along the way.

But amid the questions from the press about the disjointed performance against the Sandgrounders in the FA Cup McCarthy made a statement that stood out. That fans were excited about their football club again. He was right.

The official number of away fans that travelled to Haig Avenue at the weekend was given as 738. With the total attendance 1,674 it seemed that figure was smaller than was actually correct was in reality and from my vantage point the Blues support outweighed that of the hosts.

But there was a buzz again. People making the journey who might not have done last season. Fans who were undertaking an away day for the first time in a long time.

The frustration from McCarthy was not so much born out of the fact that his team had but in a sub-par performance and were out of the FA Cup, it was that the fans had turned out in force to see it.

But it's important not to let Saturday cloud what had gone before it. To go seven games unbeaten is tough at any level and to go that time without conceding a goal is a rareity indeed.

Jon McCarthy: We let Chester FC fans down in FA Cup exit

There were strokes of luck along the way but Southport had their own good fortune to break the deadlock at the weekend. These things don't hold out forever.

The reality is that Chester head into a clash with a former Football League foe on Saturday in far ruder health.

York City have a new manager, a manager who has endured much misery this season with a club not too far away. They lie in 19 place in the National League and a relegation scrap already looks on the cards.

Chester, with more meagre resources, are four points off the play-off places and 14 above the drop zone. Progress indeed.

They are also still seven unbeaten in the league without conceding a goal. That is a run that is still intact.

Quite how this young side will react to first setback in over a month remains to be seen but one game shouldn't destroy the positivity that had returned to the Lookers Vauxhall Stadium.

Hopefully those who have been coaxed back can be persuaded to stay the course.



David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
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