Smith disappointed to miss Wembley
Smith disappointed to miss Wembley

For Ben Smith and his Canterbury City players along with their officials and supporters the dream is finally over, and it will be Cray Valley and not City representing the Southern Counties East Football League in the FA Vase Final on Sunday May 19th.

Speaking to KSN after his side’s Semi Final defeat, the Canterbury boss was clearly disappointed as well as extremely proud of their fantastic achievement of reaching the last four.

“Ultimately at the end of the day, we didn’t take our chances,” Smith shrugged. “The two ties went exactly how we expected them to go; exactly how tactically we planned them to go they went – we just couldn’t put the ball in the net!”

“Look over the two ties and we had the best chances by a country mile – they haven’t gone through on luck (and I don’t want to be mis-quoted on that by anyone), but we didn’t have any luck. When you look at the chances, we missed last week and then see us hit the bar in the first half and you really do think that it’s not going to be our day!

If I ever doubted anything it was the quality that we had in the final third in the two games – I have never and will never doubt the character, the commitment or the character as we’ve got those by the bucket load. There isn’t a side at this level who can beat us on that, but they had that extra quality that in the end told.”

“It wasn’t nice planning to make things tight and nervy – we would have loved to play the fancy football and take the game to them. If we had done that, the tie would have been over in the First Leg – I honestly believe that!”

“We’ve shown that we can compete, and we’ve shown that the Club can be a big Club at this level! We are right back there and at the start of next season when people are looking for sides who are going to challenge, we’ll be right up there – I’m not saying we’ll be the favourites, but theres something they’ll talk about.”

“We drew with Cray in a National competition last weekend – how many sides have done that this season?

Do I care now about the rest of the season? No, I don’t think so, but we’ll be professional, and we’ve got to use this now as a springboard for next season.”

“The reason now that we’ve got ten games with nothing to play for is that we’ve been too inconsistent over the season. So we’ve got ourselves to blame for that – so these games which won’t now be like the Semi Final is our own fault in that we’ve got to now keep developing a system that we’ve stumbled across on the way to the Semi Final – in the two legs, we’ve been able to soak up pressure and create chances at the other end.”

“My Canterbury sides have never been able to do that – we’ll play good football but be open, but we’ll be naive and end up conceding. We’ve shown that we can be a side that can be nitty gritty – can play percentage football.”

“The plan going forward is can we merge that with what we’ve done going forward to get the balance right. I’m not a manager who wants to play from back to front all the time – that wouldn’t interest me at all! We can’t have any regrets on the way that we’ve set up…

We’ve won an awful lot of friends this year and let’s hope it’s swings and roundabouts and we get the success next time. But fair play to Cray, they’re the best side I have seen at SCEFL level and if there is a way to beat them, I think that it was the way we played against them, but they came through the test.”

“So, I must give huge credit to them and can remember being in the Kent County League with them! So, I can’t begrudge them their big day out – I might even go and support them on the 19th, you never know!”