1874 NORTHWICH’S season continues to scale new heights.

Ryan Mitchell’s goal arrived late but it was decisive, and deserved too.

His club are through to the FA Vase quarter-finals for the first time, and there won’t be a queue of sides wanting to face them.

There was only seconds on the clock when the defender timed perfectly a run that left him unmarked to steer a corner into the net from close-range.

Perhaps Chichester ought to have seen it coming, for the 28-year-old did exactly the same to sink Maine Road a fortnight ago.

By such details are games as close as this one decided.

The Chi will be rueful, for tired minds lost concentration when Mitchell ghosted into their penalty area.

They can make a case too that they might have led at the interval had Kieran Hartley’s brilliantly-improvised lob from distance not struck the crossbar with goalkeeper Greg Hall beaten.

However the truth is they spent a lot longer defending than their hosts did.

Management duo Paul Bowyer and Wayne Goodison have assembled a team for the big occasion, and that’s not such a bad knack to have.

They had asked beforehand for their players to impose themselves, and they did.

Scott McGowan’s early shot squirmed from custodian Anthony Ender’s grasp before he tamed it at the second-attempt, and he was alert shortly afterwards to block Taylor Kennerley’s drive.

Northwich Guardian:

Ryan Mitchell jabs the ball into Chichester City's goal at a corner to put 1874 Northwich in front during Saturday's FA Vase encounter. Picture: Ian Dutton

Chichester created an opening too, and Hall parried Jimmy Wild’s stinging effort after the tall front man had glided into a space vacated by Mitchell while he was on the floor at the other end of the field.

1874 continued to dominate possession, although too often their players made the wrong choice in the final third.

Adam Whitlock fired straight at Ender before the home team had their clearest opening.

McGowan darted between Charlie Williamson and Harry Williams after they dithered, only for Ender to produce his best to divert the striker’s attempt around an upright.

Hartley then almost delivered the game’s highlight after spotting Hall off his line.

Bowyer and Goodison sent on Shelton Payne for the second-half, in place of the injured Kennerley, and his impact was instant.

A cross from the left skidded off a defender towards McGowan, but he could not stretch far enough to nudge the ball over the line.

Ender gifted 1874 their next chance with a sloppy clearance, and McGowan rolled the ball substitute Ryan Jackson’s way.

However Chichester’s goalkeeper recovered to block with a boot.

The visitors had improved after the break, and captain Jack Lee headed wide after meeting Ellis Martin’s corner at the near-post.

Their opponents continued to probe too though, and Payne was unlucky to see his angled shot flash wide after taking the merest of touches off a defender.

However Mitchell’s moment followed from the resulting corner.

There was five minutes still to hold on but Chichester’s reaction – to a man they slumped to their knees while 1874 celebrated – suggested they knew that their chance had gone.

1874 | 4-3-3 | Hall (GK), Connor, Mitchell, Pritchard, Lee Jackson, Jones, Matthew Woolley, Parker (Waite-Jackson 80), Whitlock (Ryan Jackson 67), McGowan, Kennerley (Payne 46) Subs not used Meadowcroft, Lever Goal Mitchell 89 Booked McGowan, Jones (both fouls)

Chichester | 4-5-1 | Ender (GK), Williamson (Pashley 57), Williams, Lee, Martin, Hathem (Hutchings 65), Herbert (Kilner 80), French, Dolcetti, Hartley, Wild Subs not used Ndlovu, Turnbull (GK) Booked Martin, Lee, Elder (all fouls)

Referee Simon Mather

Attendance 580