BOWERS & Pitsea’s hopes of reaching the first round of the FA Cup for the first time in the club’s history ended as they suffered a 2-1 defeat to Chichester City.

First half goals from Matt Axell and Kaleem Haitham resulted in the visitors triumphing in front of a record crowd of 531 at the Len Salmon Stadium despite Max Cornhill’s late effort for the hosts.

And, as a result, Bowers’ FA Cup journey finished in the fourth qualifying round.

The visitors took a 16th minute lead against the run of play.

Josh Clack looked to pounce on Martyn Stokes’ weak header back to goalkeeper Callum Chafer and the Bowers captain brought the frontman down, leaving referee Callum Walchester with no choice but to point to the spot.

Axell stepped up to take the penalty and confidently dispatched, sending his effort straight down the middle.

Bowers reacted with Brad Warner breaking away from Chichester skipper Connor Cody before forcing custodian Steven Mowthorpe into a save.

However, Chichester doubled their lead with 23 minutes on the clock in extraordinary circumstances.

Callum Leahy’s attempted clearance struck the back of Haitham before looping over Chafer and into the net.

As a result, Bowers found themselves with a mountain to climb after two goals which had come out of nothing.

Warner went in search of a goal to bring the hosts back into the contest, but he headed a James Thomas high and wide before seeing a dangerous Quentin Monville centre narrowly evade him when the smallest of touches would have surely turned the ball home.

Chichester looked to kill the tie before the interval, with Gicu Iordache’s volley striking the crossbar and Axell’s drive heading narrowly over the crossbar.

But two goals proved to be the difference at half-time.

Warner saw an effort blocked moments after the interval having been found by a Monville cutback, while Mowthorpe made a fingertip stop to keep a Lewis Manor header out.

Mowthorpe was also alert to deny substitute David Knight, who raced onto a flicked header from Manor and attempted to hook the ball beyond the goalkeeper.

Manor’s scuffed shot went wide of the target when well-placed as time began to run out for Bowers to stage a comeback.

A late Knight free-kick forced Mowthorpe into a flying save, while the goalkeeper phenomenally kept out Kenzer Lee’s close range effort.

But Cornhill halved the deficit in the second minute of injury time by heading beyond Mowthorpe.

However, Bowers saw their FA Cup adventure come to an end as they could not find a late leveller.