Chichester City’s new era gets off to a spirited start

Chichester City's first-team squad line up for the camera before the season opener versus Dorking  Picture by Makaela Papworth
Chichester City's first-team squad line up for the camera before the season opener versus Dorking Picture by Makaela Papworth
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CHICHESTER CITY joint boss Sean Forry believes spirit is sky high at Oaklands Park.

City drew 1-1 against Lancing on Monday to follow up an opening-day 2-2 home draw with Dorking.

Forry is keen to highlight how pleased he is with the commitment and attitude of the squad.

He said after Monday’s draw: “With just three players on the pitch over 20 and 17-year-old Alex Ansa coming on to score, even a neutral would have to say the game deserved to.go to us.

“Effectively, the games on Saturday and Monday were our fourth and fifth friendlies, which makes it all even better. It’s early days, we know, but we feel the club’s direction of ‘build over buy’ is proving to be the right one.”

This Saturday, Chichester are at home to Chessington and Hook United in the opening qualifying round of the FA Cup.

Chichester City 2 Dorking Wanderers 2

Sussex League division one

JOSH CASE struck twice on his return for Chichester to give them a share of the points at home to Dorking in the season opener.

Having last played for City in 2010-11, Case has rejoined from Hayling and wasted no time in making his presence felt.

Wanderers were held up in traffic, so there was a delayed kick-off - but despite their poor preparation, the Surrey side dominated the opening stages.

City keeper Tom Cowell could only watch when a long-range shot came out of nowhere and crashed back off the crossbar, and it was against the run of play that the hosts took the lead on 24 minutes.

Luke Killner – back from a spell at Selsey – sent in a free-kick and Case’s flicked header made it 1-0. But moments later Julian Boniface was penalised for shirt-pulling and Tom Tolfrey converted for Wanderers from the spot.

Just before the interval City fell behind when Luke Harmsworth sent in a curling shot from the edge of the box.

The second-half was a stop-start affair with the referee continually whistling. This culminated in Chichester being awarded a rather soft penalty on 74 minutes, with Case making no mistake to bring the scores level.

“I thought that Dorking were a decent, strong and mobile side with a good attacking threat,” said joint boss Sean Forry. “They maybe edged it on possession and possibly looked more dangerous in the final third.

“However, we defended extremely well and had our own fair share of chances. Given the way that our last ten days of pre-season had gone with opposition teams calling off games, Neil (Sherlock) and I were extremely pleased with the level of commitment and effort from our lads.

“They dug really deep to get back from behind in the second-half and, in a game that could have gone either way in the last ten minutes, deserved a point that they arguably would not have won last season.”

CITY: Cowell, Heath, Madden, Boniface, Hibbert, Gilbert, Groom, Killner, Gromitt, Case, Forry. Subs: Ansa, Lee-Smith, F Smith.

Chichester City 1 Lancing 1

Sussex League division one

There was drama at Oaklands on Monday night with Chichester having two efforts ruled out before finally clinching a last-minute equaliser against Lancing.

Harry Gilbert drove a shot into the net from midfield during the first half, and after the break Morgan Forry also hit what seemed another direct strike. On both occasions there appeared to be no contact or infringement - but in each case the linesman flagged for offside, judging the balls had taken a touch on the way in.

Before reaching both decisions, the referee had to go over and discuss at length with his assistants prior to accepting their calls.

In between, speedy lone forward Alex Howells had put Lancing ahead on the hour. It was a lead that was hardly deserved, with Chichester in command for most of the match but unable to convert their chances against the defensively-minded opposition.

But then in the 89th minute, a superbly taken City free-kick into the goalmouth led to subsitute and youth team player Alex Ansa heading in to make it 1-1 and give the final result at least some kind of justice.

Among the crowd was East Preston manager Dom di Paola, who afterwards commented on the disallowed decisions: “The second was a stonewall goal. Chi were very unlucky and should have won the game comfortably.”

City: Cowell, Heath, Madden, Boniface, Hibbert, Gilbert, F Smith, Killner, Gromett, Case, Forry. Subs: Ansa, Groom.

CHESTER BROWTON