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Manager Ben Smith says Canterbury City FA Vase win his best moment

By Mark Stokes

Ben Smith described Canterbury City’s 3-2 FA Vase win over Newport Pagnell on Sunday as his finest moment as a manager.

City’s fourth round victory at Salters Lane moved them into the last 16 of the competition for the first time, and manager Smith says the scenes which greeted the final whistle will stay with him for a long time.

He said: “It’s definitely the best moment I’ve had as a manager and it’s got to be the best result the club have had since reforming.

Canterbury manager Ben Smith after the 3-2 win against Newport Pagnell Picture: Chris Davey
Canterbury manager Ben Smith after the 3-2 win against Newport Pagnell Picture: Chris Davey

“It was an achievement when the club won promotion (to the Southern Counties East League) before I came but this is special, because it’s in a national competition.

“There was a good crowd there and it was great to to see the players being applauded off the pitch.

“I’m pleased they had the chance to come off to a standing ovation.

“Over the years Canterbury have had the reputation for being watched by one man and his dog, but our crowds have consistently been getting better and performances like this, on a big stage, can only help us get where we want to in the future.”

Monday’s fifth round draw handed City another home tie – against Midland League Premier Division side Coventry United, who will play away for the first time in this year’s competition.

The tie will be played on Saturday, February 2, and Smith believes City have a great chance to make the quarter-finals.

He explained: “The first thing you hope for is to be drawn at home and if I’m honest Coventry were among three or four teams we said we wouldn’t mind being drawn against.

“Their record is similar to that of Newport Pagnell’s in their league, (they are 14th out of 20 with 29 points from 22 games).

“We’ll obviously need to make sure we give them respect but there are certainly worse draws we could have had.”

City, 10th in the SCEL, resume their league campaign on Saturday when they host second-placed Corinthian, who they came from behind to beat 4-2 with 10 men in the Vase in November.

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