City share the goals around to put Loxwood to sword
Two goals from top scorer Scott Jones and others from Jimmy Wild, Kaleem Haitham and Dave Herbert helped Chichester City pick up three important SCFL premier-division points at home to Loxwood.
Jones might have put his side one up inside 60 seconds but his touch was too heavy as he latched on to a long through ball. The City No.9 had another chance two minutes later from the first corner of the game. Jones hooked his effort goalwards but there wasn't enough power on it to trouble the visitor's keeper.
Ben Pashley next picked out wing-back Rob Hutchings on a surging run down the left but his cross was too long for Jones and Wild. Then Haitham had a go from the right with a shot that just drifted wide.
A long kick from Ant Ender sent Haitham away again but he couldn't pick out Scott Murfin who had made up good ground into the box. On 12 minutes a nice exchange between Herbert and Murfin set up Wild who pulled his shot. A burst of pace from Haitham took him past a couple of defenders only to lift his effort over the bar. It was all Chi in this opening spell and Jones had a fierce header saved.
Then came the game's talking point in the 20th minute when Loxwood were reduced to ten men after a rash challenge on Murfin. Despite being a man down the visitors carved out a really good opportunity as they split the City defence wide open only to fire wide of Ender's right-hand post.
A slip up at the back gifted the home side another chance but Wild shot straight at the keeper. At the other end Ender had to have his wits about him and managed to palm a good effort away. From the resulting corner only an excellent block denied the Magpies an opening goal.
Loxwood went close again on 32 minutes but Ender was there to acrobatically tip a bullet header away for a corner. A couple of good chances came and went just before the break for Chi. First Murfin might have done better when Haitham squared to him and then Hutchings had a super cross cut out by the keeper. HT 0-0
Chichester cranked things up straight after the interval. After good work from Haitham, Wild tested the keeper with a fierce shot that he spilt but somehow managed to gather at the second attempt. Moments later it was Jones that was denied.
The opener came four minutes in when Wild found the back of the net with a crisp finish after a jinking run. Chi continued pressing and Herbert had an effort saved after Haitham got down the right. Then Hutchings drove down the other flank and found Herbert but he blazed over.
On 57 minutes Haitham, who has chipped in with some significant goals this campaign, got on the scoresheet again, breaking into the box and tucking the ball away clinically after a good passage of play. Ender made another stop a minute later when it looked like ten-men Loxwood might get back into the game before Jones rattled the bar after a cut-back from Murfin.
Haitham, Herbert and Hutchings all posed a threat for the visitors as Chi hit a purple patch. The home side forced a couple of corners in this period, Jack Lee firing over from one of them before the City captain crossed to Dan Hegarty whose glancing header struck the goalie's midriff.
Chi made their one-man advantage pay in the last 15 minutes. First Jones got on the end of another cross with an effort that this time the keeper couldn't keep out. Then a worldie from Herbert made it 4-0 before Jones wrapped things up with his 27th goal of the season with a delightful lob.
The win keeps Chichester in contention with the clubs above them - and only four points separate the top six sides.
City travel to Peacehaven & Telscombe on Saturday (3pm).
Chichester: Ender, Hutchings, French, Pashley, Lee, Hegarty (Peake), Haitham, Murfin (Lis). Herbert, Jones, Wild.