Last year Chi got through to the second qualifying round before losing 3-0 to Isthmian premier league Folkestone Invicta; the season before it was Maidstone from National League South in a campaign that would see them promoted to the National League who dumped City out of the world’s oldest knock-out football competition at the third qualifying round; and the year before that Miles Rutherford’s side also went out to National League South opposition at the same stage in a tight contest at home to Tonbridge Angels.
And we all know what happened in the cup in 2019-20.
Here at the 1878 Stadium, which the nomadic Southall ground-share with Burnham FC, an undercooked Chichester huffed and puffed but never really got going, and their opponents just seemed to want it more.
The hosts’ Mark Darreon did Rob Hutchings down the right flank five minutes in and whipped over an inviting cross. Referee Dennis Torres Miranda, who dished out three yellow cards in the first 25, brandished his first one to Dylan Kearney for simulation and waved away appeals for a penalty.
At the other end sixty seconds later Chi striker Steve Hutchings was clearly grabbed by a defender at a set-piece but this was overlooked.
Darreon, who posed problems all match, earned a free-kick which Heneghan took and Jack Roper glanced his header wide.
A forward pass from Rob Hutchings to Ethan Prichard on 12 minutes was a little too firm; Roper got a talking-to for a foul; and Ryan Davidson’s shot was blocked.
Roper joined Kearney in Mr Miranda’s notebook for impeding Steve Hutchings and the set-piece came to nothing.
Ben Pashley, partnering debutant Curtis Da Costa at CB for Chi, played a nice ping which Kevin Diamonde headed back.
Next, Kaleem Haitham latched on to a through ball but his run was ended by a well-timed challenge.
And then came the match’s talking point when Lloyd Rowlatt and Kearney collided outside the box. The ref saw it as a foul, gave Southall a free-kick, and booked Rowlatt. Up stepped Heneghan and lofted the ball into the back of the net just under the bar for what proved to be the only goal of the game.
Both teams exchanged fouls in a subsequently scrappy spell.
A Kieran Magee moment presented a wayward pass to Darreon but the Chichester custodian redeemed himself with a fine stop from Kearney after the Southall No7 set him up.
The hosts’ press continued to unsettle Chi.
Rob Hutchings and Prichard gave the visitors a bit of relief though down the left but Prichard’s cross into a decent area went out for a goal kick.
Pashley’s long ranger which Michael Edegbe palmed round the post then won a first corner and Haitham’s effort didn’t have enough curl on it.
On the stroke of half time a neat exchange between Haitham, Davidson and Conrad Honore resulted in a cross that Edegbe claimed easily enough.
Josh Clack came on for Adam Biss at the break as Chi rejigged and the sub forced an early corner after good work from Haitham and Steve Hutchings.
Prichard delivered this and the home side cleared their lines eventually.
Heneghan was replaced by Kevin Songolo on 49 and Ryan Hope linked up with Darreon whose cut back was cut out by Honore.
Pashley then intervened to thwart Darreon and after Southall rebuilt Azeez Alabi’s through ball was too strong.
Magee gathered a cross at the second attempt and Prichard pulled a save out of Edegbe at the opposite end on the hour mark and a free-kick and a corner failed to trouble Chi.
Steve Hutchings’ clever flick to Prichard didn’t fool his marker before a sharp attack involving Clack and his No9 ended in Rowlatt being tackled in the area – no pen according to the ref.
Steve Hutchings’ header had the ball in the back of the net on 65 but it was ruled out for offside.
Clack might have got on to a Steve Hutchings nod but a defender dealt with the danger and Edegbe got a glove on Rob Hutchings’ cross to concede a corner which Da Costa headed wide.
The former Swindon, Moneyfields and Portchester player then challenged Songolo bravely with both ending up on the deck receiving treatment.
Joe Moore replaced Honore on 74 minutes just before Prichard almost got to Davidson’s decent delivery.
Next, the hosts gave away a free-kick in the same spot from which they’d scored in the first half. This time, however, Prichard crashed his attempt into a wall that didn’t seem to be ten yards away.
Songolo and Darreon surged down the right wing but the final pass was intercepted and then Darreon pulled a fine save out of Magee who managed to recover the loose ball.
Isaac Bello came on for Rob Hutchings for the last ten or so and Moore slid in brilliantly to break up an attack and get Chi on a counter with Rowlatt firing narrowly over.
Southall broke from Prichard’s set-piece and Magee’s heart-stopping and inventive backheel denied the opposition.
They might have doubled their lead though in freakish circumstances when Davidson’s clearance struck Darreon and nearly rebounded in.
Despite all Chi’s efforts an equaliser just would not come and the two teams will do it all again when they meet at the same place in the FA Trophy.
So, Chichester are out of the FA Cup at the earliest round for the first time in some five years, and Southall will play either Wembley or Bearsted, who knocked Chi out in the extra-preliminary in 2018-19.
Chi face Phoenix Sports at the Christopher Russell Stadium, Bexleyheath in the Isthmian south east curtain-raiser on Saturday 12th August (Kick Off 3pm).
Chichester – Magee, Davidson, Rob Hutchings, Honore, Da Costa, Pashley, Biss, Rowlatt, Steve Hutchings, Haitham, Prichard. Subs – (Moore, Clarke, Bello, Horncastle, Clack)