A DEJECTED Rob Small admits it will be difficult to see Chichester City involved in Monday's FA Cup first round draw after they ended his Bowers & Pitsea side’s extensive run in the competition.

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

The 2-1 defeat resulted in Bowers missing out on a first ever appearance in the first round of the competition and a potential glamour tie, much to the frustration of Small.

“It’s going to be tough to take and see Chichester’s name pulled out of the hat,” said the Bowers chief.

“I expect they will have a televised game in the next round and it will be tough to pick ourselves up from this disappointment, so it will be a real test of all of our characters to see what we’re made of.

“We find ourselves in the bottom three and our form in the Isthmian Premier League hasn’t been great of late.

“This FA Cup run had kept us playing for something, whereas we now find ourselves out of that and with a backlog of games for the next two months that we need to take points from.

“It’s going to be tough but it’s not time to press the panic button.

“We’ve got a good group of players who, unfortunately, didn’t do themselves justice.

“We’ll all be bitterly disappointed with that for the foreseeable future but I maintain the belief that sooner or later the tide will turn.”

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 dispatched the penalty and Chichester doubled their advantage soon after in freakish circumstances.

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

Chichester winger Gicu Iordache struck the crossbar before the interval and, although Bowers looked for a way back into the contest, Cornhill’s injury time header came too late for the hosts.

Small was critical of his side’s defending as their FA Cup adventure ended in the fourth qualifying round.

“It’s difficult to take but we got what we deserved, which was nothing," added Small.

“We have to take our medicine and pick ourselves up.

“They were a long way from the best team we have played this season and I expect us to beat teams like that.

“The truth is the defending for both goals was woeful.

“Chichester have not scored those goals, we have gifted them.

“It’s really poor defending and, when you concede goals like that, it takes the wind out of everyone’s sails.”