Chichester City experience early league ups and downs

Chichester go for goal at Broadbridge Heath from a free-kick / Picture by Steve Robards
Chichester go for goal at Broadbridge Heath from a free-kick / Picture by Steve Robards

It’s been a mixed first week of the SCFL premier-division season for Chichester City. A first-day defeat Broadbridge Heath was followed by a fine 5-2 win at home to Arundel.

Ian Worden reports on both matches and talks to City bosses for their verdict...

Broadbridge Heath 2 Chichester City 0

SCFL premier division

Goals from Dean Wright and Devon Fender helped Heath beat City on the opening day of the season.

Chi started brightly enough when captain Dan Hegarty got a header away from a Josh Clack free-kick and moments later cracked a right-foot shot inches over.

It was an important win for us that means we can put the last two games behind us. We’ve got a run of games now in quick succession where we hope we can put in performances like we did tonight.

City coach Danny Potter

At the other end Ant Ender just gathered in time with Tim Martin bearing down on him and then denied the same player, blocking a shot with his chest.

On 15 minutes George Way found Jones and the No9 squared it back to Way, only for his effort to be deflected. A minute later Clack had a go then set up Kieran Hartley, but Michael Chester got down well to smother.

The home side might have taken the lead when new boy Fender combined effectively with Wright, who crossed for Martin to steer a header goalwards. Wright blasted over after good work in the box from Alex Parsons and Scott Weller.

For Chi, Dave Herbert, in a fine run of goal-scoring form with five in three, stabbed the ball just too close to Chester after a cushioned knock-down from Jones.

Steve Painter’s side started to get a grip on the game and opportunities fell first to summer signing Tom Howard-Bold then Weller, whose drive skidded past the post, and finally Fender, but his shot was always rising.

In the 29th minute this persistence paid off as Wright, lurking at the back post, gratefully tucked away Martin’s chip into the box.

The lead might have been doubled five minutes later when the Blues skipper tested Ender with a set-piece from 25 yards that the City keeper tipped acrobatically over the bar.

Chi had one or two chances before the break. Clack found Herbert but the former Arundel and Worthing player’s shot lacked both power and direction. Next Clack troubled Chester with an effort that he couldn’t hold on to.

A series of yellow cards followed the game’s flashpoint 15 minute into the second half when Broadbridge Heath were not awarded a stonewall penalty. It was an injustice that might have been compounded with Clack, Herbert, Ellis Martin and Lorenzo Dolcetti all creating openings for an equaliser in a frantic period.

Marlon Maxwell struck a fierce shot that cannoned off a cluster of defenders before a counter-attack caught the visitors out in the 68th minute for Fender to put his team two up, calmly picking out his spot.

The Bears could have gone further ahead when both Fender and Parsons asked questions of the Chichester keeper.

Patient build-up play from City resulted in three corners in quick succession that all came to nothing. Lorenzo Dolcetti, whose wonder free-kick helped Chi win the corresponding fixture 3-1 last year, should have got on the scoresheet with ten minutes to go.

Chester saved efforts from Hartley and Way before his counterpart denied substitutes Jack McNab and Chris Copestake in the dying moments.

After the match Chi boss Miles Rutherford said, “The season is still young. We’ll learn from our mistakes and work hard to improve. We’re looking for the right style of play and we’ll find it soon.”

Coach Danny Potter added: “One league game won’t determine our season. We were disappointed to lose of course, but we’ll bounce back as a group. We have some quality players in our squad. It’s now time to get these players playing together. And when they do, we’ll be frightening.”

Chichester are at Arundel on Saturday in the SCFA RUR Cup.

City: Ender, Watts, Jupp (Martin), French, Smith (Williams), Hegarty, Clack, Way, Jones (Dolcetti), Herbert, Hartley.

Chichester City 5 Arundel 2

Southern Combination premier

City picked up all three points in their opening home game thanks to two goals apiece from Scott Jones and Josh Clack and a second-half strike by Dave Herbert against his former club.

It was an action-packed, unsurprisingly feisty derby between two sides with a bit of history looking for a first win of the season.

Clack opened the scoring 11 minutes in following a mazy signature run that left a trail of defenders in his wake after a superb tackle from full-back Dan Watts sent him on his way.

Eli Amoo’s deft touch and turn before drilling the ball into the bottom corner got the visitors back into the game in the 18th minute.

And Amoo was also involved in Arundel’s second a couple of minutes later when he cued Scott Tipper up for a tap-in after good work from Lee Mottershead.

City should have been level through Herbert but his effort, a cracking shot that went in and came back off the stanchion, was ruled out.

The equaliser came in the 38th minute when Clack’s perseverance paid off. The winger rode a challenge or two and then, with Arundel guilty of not clearing their lines, the ball came to Jones who slotted it home from close range.

Miles Rutherford’s side went ahead after the break. Kieran Hartley’s pinpoint pass found Jones in the box for a crisp finish and his third goal in three games.

Herbert, who has impressed in pre-season, made it 4-2. Clack picked him out and a nice piece of control enabled the City No10 to spin and get off a shot that Stuart McDonald couldn’t get to.

With tempers fraying the game’s flashpoint in the 70th minute resulted in a second yellow card for Scott Towers.

Down to ten men Arundel conceded a fifth when Clack gratefully latched on to a neat back-heel from Jones.

“It was an important win for us that means we can put the last two games behind us. We’ve got a run of games now in quick succession where we hope we can put in performances like we did tonight,” said City coach Danny Potter.

City: Ender, Watts, Martin (Williams), French, Hartley, Hegarty, Clack, Way (Thoms), Dolcetti, Herbert (Kanjanda), Jones.

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