Chichester are four games from Wembley thanks to goals from Josh Clack and Scott Jones which earned a battling 2-0 win at Whistable in the FA Vase third round.
City, without the injured Lorenzo Dolcetti and suspended Ellis Martin and Ruben French, started this Vase third-round clash on fire and were 2-0 up inside the first ten minutes.
Clack’s opener, a low drive into the bottom right-hand corner, after barely two minutes was followed by Scott Jones’s fifth goal in four games when the Chi No9 latched on to a super through-ball from Dave Herbert and beat Whitstable’s Dan Eason with a composed finish that sent the Chi fans into raptures.
City’s travelling supporters certainly played their part in a cracking atmosphere at the Beaumont.
A shell-shocked home side, who came into the game on the back of six straight wins, started to get back into things and on 15 minutes City keeper Ant Ender made the first of several important stops with a strong wrist on a shot to divert the ball for a corner. Three minutes later Jones was inches away from getting on the end of Clack cross after good work from Herbert.
Clack was involved again when his free-kick picked out Dan Hegarty, but Jones was unable to connect with the midfielder’s knock-down.
Whitstable had the ball in the net in the 26th minute but the linesman had spotted an infringement.
The ref had a busy five minutes or so, dishing out yellows to a number of players for minor fouls.
The visitors put together another spell of pressure. First Hegarty got on to the end of a Kieran Hartley set-piece, then Jones dragged a shot past the post.
Five minutes before the interval Whitstable had the best chance of the half but Tom Bryant skewed his effort wide with the goal at his mercy.
Then Josh Burchill tested Ender with a cross-come-shot that would have dipped in under the bar but for a timely tip-away from the keeper. From the resultant corner Rob Gilman had a downward header blocked on the line by the Chi shot-stopper.
Whitstable forged other opportunities after the break. Ender parried a long-range drive before Ricky Freeman headed off target.
Charlie Smith had a go but Jack Lee managed to clear the ball for a corner.
It wasn’t all backs to wall for the visitors. Jones led the line well and was unfortunate not to make more of a couple of precision passes.
Herbert, who shone in pockets of space all afternoon, blazed one over after sub Rob Hutchings laid the ball back to him with 15 minutes to go. Moments before this, Smith put another header wide.
With Chi sitting deep, No11 Macauley Murray found himself with more time on the ball to orchestrate things in the centre of the park. A good move that involved Murray teed up Stuart West but his shot didn’t trouble Ender.
Dan Williams forced City’s November player of the month into another fine save.
At the other end Clack had an effort blocked after an explosive run and with five minutes to go Ben Pashley fired over.
Whitstable might have scored a consolation deep into timed added on for stoppages but a fierce drive found the side-netting.
City travel to Combined Counties League premier-division side Horley in the next round.
Chichester: Ender, Hartley, Lee (captain), Williams, Watts, Hegarty, Pashley, Clack, Haitham, Herbert, Jones. Subs (Hucthings, Kanjanda, Ndlovu, Killner, Turnbull.