It was a night of frustration at Oaklands Park as Chi City lost 1-0 to Three Bridges - coming back to earth with a bump after the win on Saturday at Cray Valley that took them top of the Isthmian south-east division..
Miles Rutherford & Co went with the same starting XI that sent City top of the league with Ryan Peake, Jamie Horncastle, Connor Cody, Matt Axell and Scott Jones on the bench.
Gicu Iordache, who scored the second goal against the Millers, might have had a first half hat-trick. He had a shot cleared off the line in the 12th minute and then fired over some sixty seconds later when a smart pass from skipper Lloyd Rowlatt played him in. Bridges’ keeper Kieron Thorp, who was outstanding, then saved from Corey Heath while Tom Tolfrey spurned a glorious chance at the other end.
Thorp palmed away a Josh Clack effort on the half hour before making another super save from Iordache to keep his side in the game. Thorp’s counterpart Steve Mowthorpe got caught out in no man’s land and Tolfrey should have done better when Reece Price-Placid teed him up only for a combination of Chi defenders to hook his flick over the bar.
Tolfrey made no mistake though with his penalty in the 41st minute, calmly slotting the ball away to Mowthorpe’s left. Thorp did well to get something on Iordache’s drive just before the interval and was on hand again moments after the restart to deny Kaleem Haitham.
Jones replaced Jimmy Wild up top and went close with trademark headers. The hosts, who had scored twice in all five league games before this one, couldn’t find a breakthrough against stubborn opposition.
Rowlatt had a shot charged down, Emmett Dunn headed narrowly over from a corner and Heath had a great chance to get Chi a point in time added on but dragged his attempt inches wide.
The defeat left City fifth in the table, but still having had a very good start to their league campaign.
Chi face Three Bridges on another two occasions over the next couple of weeks in the FA Trophy and the group stages of the Velocity sponsored league cup.
Next up though is the FA Cup and a tough test against step three side Hartley Wintney in the second qualifying round of the FA Cup on Saturday.
Chichester - Mowthorpe, Davidson, Hutchings, Dunn, Heath, Pashley, Clack, Rowlatt, Wild, Iordache, Haitham, Subs: Peake, Horncastle, Cody, Axell, Jones