Football: Doughty deliveries scupper Whyteleafe

Chester City 3 Whyteleafe 1

THE DREAM may be over for Whyteleafe, but there is no doubt the romance of the FA Cup, despite the best efforts of the party poopers from Old Trafford, is alive and well.

Lee Richardson, the manager of the Croydon-based Ryman League team, has endured two decades in the non-league scene, patiently waiting for his flirtation with the spotlight, and he relished every moment of it after the first-round replay.

"It didn't disappoint me one bit, it was the biggest game I've ever been involved in," he said with the knowledge and genuine grin of a man preparing his charges for a mouth-watering meeting with Barton Rovers this weekend in front of an expected crowd, he estimated, of about 95.

Of course, had his side finished the job at the first attempt - last night's scorer Steve Lunn fluffed a penalty minutes from time at Church Road - they could have been looking forward to a tie with the far from unassailable Stalybridge Celtic and then, well, what does it matter now?

That honour falls to Chester City. Second bottom of the league, the whole Football League, and with just three wins in the Third Division, the Cup has provided the full-timers with a welcome, if brief, respite from the weekly rigours.

In the end, as the mist rolled in from the river Dee, Chester won at a canter - two goals from Jonathan Cross and one from Luke Beckett, all provided by Matty Doughty crosses, was enough to see off the assembled pipe-fitters, part-time policeman, student and the rest of the usual suspects.

The pivotal moment? Mist of a different hue. The right back Scott Thornton lashed out at Andy Shelton after a touch-line tussle and was dismissed. This created the space for Doughty to exploit almost at will on the left flank for more than half the game and, had his supporting cast been more alert, then Richardson's view of his dalliance with the big boys may not have been so rosy. And that is reason enough to be thankful for Chester's profligacy.

Chester City (5-3-2): Brown; Moss (Nash, 46), Malone (Lancaster, 16), N Fisher, Milosavijevic, Doughty; Wright, Richardson, Shelton; Cross, Beckett. Substitutes not used: Conkie, Berry (gk), Jones.

Whyteleafe (4-4-2): Rose; Algar, Golley, Arkwright, McKay (Elliott, 60); Thornton, G Fisher, Howland, Ahmet (George, 76); Scott (Milton, 36), Lunn. Substitutes not used: Hopkins, Martin (gk).

Referee: P Taylor (Cheshunt).

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