Ten-man Chichester denied victory over Whitstable by late equaliser - report and video highlights
Ten-man Chichester had to settle for a point as resilient Whitstable scored late on to deny them a second straight Isthmian south east victory.
City looked like starting a run of four consecutive home games with a win after Lloyd Rowlatt gave them the lead, but a late equaliser from Aaron Millbank meant the spoils were shared with Ryan Davidson seeing red late on for Chichester.
Miles Rutherford & Co made two changes to the side that won away to VCD Athletic, with Ryan Peake and Matt Axell coming in for the suspended Rob Hutchings and Rory Biggs. Scott Jones returned to the bench.
The hosts started brightly and a determined run from Gicu Iordache set the pace for the home side, but Whitstable did well to crowd him out. Josh Clack won City their first free-kick of the game and Rowlatt floated a ball to the back post, but Davidson could only head wide.
Davidson showed his aerial capabilities in the Chi box as he headed clear a dangerous ball in from his opposite number Jake Mackenzie.
Winger Kaleem Haitham played in Clack at the other end but Whitstable keeper Daniel Eason was quick off his line to thwart the attack. Moments later, after a marauding run from Chi captain Connor Cody, Haitham again tried to play in Clack and the No9 went down and felt he was pulled back, but the referee waved play on and left the Chichester bench infuriated.
A couple of chances for Iordache came and went as the Romanian looked to add to his goal tally after he scored in midweek.
Cody tested Eason from long distance and his low drive took a nick on the way through, but the shot-stopper was equal to the effort.
Eason was again called into action and pulled of a spectacular save to tip Davidson’s header on to the bar. However, there was nothing the goalkeeper could do when Rowlatt gave the home side a deserved lead on the 38th minute.
Iordache crossed to find Rowlatt lurking and the Chi man produced a composed low effort which nestled in the bottom corner.
Minutes later the visitors almost levelled after a long throw into the box picked out Town skipper Thomas Bryant, but his header clipped the upright.
The hosts had dominated the first half and were looking to do the same in the second. Rowlatt had a fierce effort that hit a Whitstable arm, which the referee didn’t spot, then tenacious play from Iordache led to a deflected shot into the arms of Eason.
A lovely spin from Rowlatt ended with a low drive which was comfortable for Eason.
Davidson picked up the first yellow card of the match fora late challenge, then Connor Saunders joined him for the visitors for dissent.
Steve Mowthorpe was called into real action for the first time as Saunders was found one on one with the keeper but Mowthorpe came out on top as he pulled off a fine low save.
From the resulting corner the Chi stopper was tested by substitute Liam Gillies, but his long-range effort was well held.
The hosts made their first change with 20 minutes left as Jones replaced Iordache and the striker was in the thick of the action straight away when his header had to be cleared of the line.
Chichester were left to rue the missed opportunities as with just under ten minutes to go the Kent side got an equaliser. Millbank netted his seventh of the season after a lung-busting drive from Titan Jadama found the Whitstable striker and his deflected effort looped over a helpless Mowthorpe.
Chichester had another chance cleared off the line – Haitham curled a shot which beat the keeper, but a Whitstable defender was on hand to save his side.
In the final minutes a late challenge from Davidson was deemed a straight red from the referee and the ten men of Chichester almost came away with a loss when substitute Marcus Elliott forced Mowthorpe into another brilliant one on one save with the last kick.
Chichester host Herne Bay this Tuesday (7:45) then entertain VCD on Saturday.