Chichester City got the better of Peacehaven - while Pagham won at Newhaven.
Read the teams’ latest SCFL premier-division reports below...
Chichester City 4 Peacehaven & Telscombe 0
City put the disappointment of their FA Vase fourth-round exit behind them with a convincing win over Peacehaven & Telscombe at Oaklands Park.
Manager Miles Rutherford was critical of some of his side’s defending in that loss. The Chichester boss also had things to say about the delivery of the ball into the final area and asked his players to ‘go out and express themselves’.
On a bitterly-cold afternoon City responded well to all three concerns. Peacehaven rarely troubled the Lillywhites’ goal, crosses were whipped in regularly from both flanks and the team played without the nerves that had perhaps inhibited them at home in the Vase against Buckland Athletic.
Saturday’s visitors were relegated from the Ryman League last season and things have been tough this campaign too and they’d lost four on the bounce coming into this match.
These defensive frailties, however, weren’t apparent in the opening stages. Manager Mark Shutt’s back four were well-organised and regularly caught Scott Jones and others offside.
City were restricted to long-range efforts from Dan Hegarty and Jones that didn’t really test keeper Jordan Hawkins.
The breakthrough came in the 16th minute when Keiran Hartley squared to Josh Clack in the box and he tucked it away with a composed finish.
Hegarty struck a firm shot that Hawkins did well to get his body behind, then Clack had another effort. Hegarty got on the end of couple of crosses in a spell of heavy pressure, heading narrowly over twice.
City keeper Ant Ender, who’d had little to do, was called on to make two saves in quick succession from Peacehaven’s Vitor Pestana and Curtis Ford ten minutes before the end of the half. Ender’s first was an outstanding block, the second a reflex save from a left-foot shot that he had to get down low to.
Chichester went at their visitors relentlessly after the break forcing a catalogue of free-kicks. But the best effort in this frantic period of pressure fell to Chris Hooker whose shot fizzed past the post much to Hawkins’ relief.
The visitors’ defence was eventually breached for a second time with an own goal – a deflection that spun cruelly off Stavros Sendonaris just before the hour.
Sixty seconds later City thought they’d gone three up but Jones’ header was chalked off for an infringement.
Hartley had an acrobatic effort and another header from the once again impressive Jones was saved by Hawkins.
Chi sub Perry Northeast saw his shot palmed over by the keeper and Jones blasted high when in on goal.
The City No9 did get on the scoresheet in the last ten minutes, bagging a sixth double of the campaign. His first header was almost identical to the one that had been ruled out earlier, the second followed a corner.
Jones’ tally this term is edging towards 30.
Chichester are now only a point behind second-placed Haywards Heath with a game in hand.
Rutherford said: “It was an important win for us, as we needed to bounce back from last week’s Vase exit. I was really pleased to pick up three points, keep a clean sheet and perform well.”
First team coach Danny Potter said: “We’re going to work really hard to push the top teams all the way.”
Chichester travel to Newhaven this week.
Newhaven 0 Pagham 1
SCFL premier division
Newhaven joint boss Sean Beach admitted he was gutted after his side suffered defeat to a late goal at home to Pagham on Saturday.
Joe Shelley’s 88th-minute goal was enough for the SCFL Premier Division high-fliers to claim another win.
Pagham are at home to Peacehaven on Saturday in the league and go to Crawley Down Gatwick in the RUR Cup next Tuesday.
* The Lions’ scheduled Sussex Senior Cup clash with Brighton’s development team was postponed on Wednesday because of a frozen pitch. A new date has yet to be confirmed.
Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking sports news where you live.
Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be among the first to know what’s going on.
1 Make this website your homepage
2 Like our Facebook page at facebook.com/pages/Sport-Sussex
3 Follow us on Twitter @SportSussex
4 Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.
Share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!