A first-half Ellis Martin goal helped Chi City pick up three precious points with a 1-0 SCFL premier-division win at Eastbourne Town.
The visitors had to weather a storm at times, in all sorts of ways, and put in a gutsy performance against one of the division’s in-form teams.
Eastbourne went into the match at The Saffrons in buoyant mood on the back of six games unbeaten, with Liam Baitup scoring half a dozen in that run.
The football wasn’t always pretty, but then it’s not every weekend that a weather bomb like Storm Brian batters the south.
Chris Cumming-Bart had the first meaningful effort for Eastbourne in the ninth minute but dragged his effort wide, then Luke Denton fired over moments later after the ball fell to him.
The only goal came on 15 minutes.
After a move involving good work from Dan Hegarty, Eastbourne keeper Greg Nessling managed to get something on Scott Jones’ stinging shot but Martin, who had made up ground down the left, was there to rifle the loose ball home for the defender’s third of the season.
Nessling had to be alert four minutes later when a nice piece of skill from Dave Herbert set up another chance for Jones that the Town goalie turned away.
The Eastbourne fans, in fine voice as ever, taunted Jones playfully with ‘There’s only one Jimmy Bullard”, presumably with his pulled-back ponytail in mind.
The hosts pressed for an equaliser. Ant Ender couldn’t fully control an Alan Foster effort and the ball sat up invitingly for the No4 but Lee nipped in to force it out for a corner.
Next Ender got down low to cut out a Baitup cross-shot before Herbert should have done better for Chi when he had options either side of him at the other end.
Dave Smart spurned a great opportunity for the East Sussex side, Herbert had an effort deflected for a corner and Lorenzo Dolcetti tried his luck with a drive from long range.
Chi skipper Jack Lee joined Hegarty in the ref’s notebook for a robust challenge.
John Lambert clearly had words with his players at the interval and Chichester found themselves under the cosh for long periods of the second 45.
The Eastbourne manager brought on Tyler Capon, Jacob Merrick and Bright Temba. A cross eight minutes into the half just eluded Aaron Capon and a super interception from Lee denied the home side.
Just before the hour Hegarty lifted the ball over for Herbert to run on to only for his effort to be blocked for a corner that came to nothing. Good link up play next between Herbert and Jones saw the ball in the back of the Eastbourne net again but the officials ruled it out for offside.
An intelligent pass from Dolcetti to Martin resulted in a cross that Hegarty flicked on agonisingly inches away from Chi’s leading goal scorer Jones.
Eastbourne kept pressing and forced a series of corners that Lee, Martin, Dan Watts and the impressive Ben Pashley did well to deal with.
The last ten minutes felt like an age for the traveling fans but it wasn’t all a case of Chi clinging on and both Herbert and Clack might have nicked another City goal in the latter stages.
The win left Miles Rutherford’s side only a point behind pace-setters Peacehaven and Haywards Heath.
It was a resilient showing against strong oppositions.
Chi are back in action in the league against Eastbourne United at Oaklands Park this Saturday.
Chichester: Ender, Watts, Lee, Martin, Pashley, Clack, Hegarty, Williams, Jones, Herbert, Dolcetti. Subs: Hutchings, Kanjanda, Hathem, Hartley.