Chichester City 0, Hastings United 2: Opening Velocity Trophy encounter ends in defeat
After the win in the league at home to Faversham Chichester suffered defeat in this opening group stage encounter of the Velocity Trophy under the lights at Oaklands Park.
Mindful of forthcoming FA cup fixtures both sides made changes to the sides that won at the weekend. Ant Ender came in for keeper Steve Mowthorpe; there were starts for Robert Taw, Sam Ndlovu, Rory Biggs and Theo Bennetts; and Jimmy Wild was handed the No.9 shirt in place of Scott Jones who joined club captain Connor Cody, Josh Clack, Callum Overton, Jamie Horncastle and Ryan Peake on Chi’s injury list. Corey Heath was suspended.
Hastings, who have only conceded one goal in five games in all competitions so far this season, were rarely threatened in the first half and should have gone ahead on 18 minutes when a super pass from Tom Chalmers played Kenny Pogue in only for the striker to skew his shot wide of Ender’s left-hand post.
Chalmers was involved again moments later feeding the ball intelligently to John Elliott who whipped in a dangerous cross.
Chi had a bit of defending to do. Sam Beale’s free kick was smuggled away and Wild managed to clear another delivery into the box by Ryan Worrall.
The visitors took the lead in the 26th minute when Pogue got in too easily, latching on to a nice pass from Davide Rodari.
Elliott’s run down the right in Hastings’ next attack gave Chi some trouble and then a free flowing move involving Matt Axell, Rob Hutchings, Kaleem Haitham, Ryan Davidson and Bennetts forged the hosts an opportunity but Taw’s cross was just a bit too strong for Wild.
Referee James Robinson waved away appeals for a Hastings’ penalty following a challenge on Rodari before Ender did well to save with his feet as Pogue bore down on his goal.
Worrall then blasted over and on the stroke of half time Ender was quick off his line to head clear.
Chichester started the second half more brightly. A smart exchange between Wild and Haitham gave the U’s back four some problems and Bennetts flashed a header narrowly wide.
Hutchings, Biggs and Ndlovu next combined effectively only for a defender to intercept the latter’s cross.
Then Ndlovu picked out Wild after Taw teed him up. Wild’s effort was turned away for a Chi corner that presented the home side with their best opportunity of the match but Biggs headed over at the back post.
Wild got off a shot on the turn and Axell had another attempt diverted for a corner.
At the other end on the hour mark Hastings wasted a free kick on the edge of the box before doubling their advantage eight minutes later when Chalmers shrugged skipper Ben Pashley off the ball and steered it past Ender.
There were a number of substitutions in the last 20 minutes. Denis Gurau and Joshua Maloney came on for the home side alongside regulars Gicu Iordache and Lloyd Rowlatt.
A smart back heel from the Romanian set up Rowlatt for a fierce strike that cannoned off a defender for a corner.
Hastings broke from this when a burst of pace from sub Daniel Ajariye opened Chi up only for the move to break down thanks to a timely tackle.
Ender had work to do late on gathering a free kick, punching away a corner and then rushing out to beat Ajakaiye to the ball.
There was a chance for a Chi consolation in time added on but Rowlatt headed Hutchings’ cross just over.
Chi face Haywards Heath in their next Velocity Trophy group four match but before that Buckinghamshire side Chalfont St Peter are the visitors to Oaklands Park in the FA Cup on Saturday 7th September (3pm Kick Off)
Chichester - Mowthorpe, Taw, Hutchings, Axell, Davidson, Pashley, Ndlovu, Biggs, Wild, Bennetts, Haitham, Subs: Rowlatt, Gurau, Iordache, Maloney, Mowthorpe