Two wins, 10 goals - and Chichester City are four clear at top
Chichester City's flying start continued with a comfortable 6-1 victory over Peacehaven.
There was no Scott Jones as the striker served the first game of a suspension following a red card against East Preston.
City boss Miles Rutherford brought Lorenzo Dolcetti into midfield, sitting just behind George Way and Matt Axell, and gave the No9 shirt to Tiago Andrade.
Andrade earned the hosts a free-kick two minutes in and Way tested Peacehaven keeper Alieu Secka.
Ellis Martin put Chi ahead from a corner at the back post, latching on to a flick from Dave Herbert.
Referee Thomas Price waved away penalty appeals as Tyler Scrafton went down in the box under a strong challenge.
Mikey Lloyd almost equalised but his effort hit the post and Jordan Matthews gathered the loose ball.
Rob Hutchings came on for Way in the 35th minute after the midfielder picked up an injury and two minutes later Haven were level.
A cross from the left from Sid Adams was chested down by Lloyd and Scrafton beat Matthews with a crisp finish – the August player of the month conceding only his second goal of the campaign.
Hutchings was instrumental in a series of City moves. A nice touch from the substitute almost got Cody in and then a precision cross was flicked just wide.
Matthews denied Haven with an impressive double save on the stroke of half-time, palming away a fierce effort from Adams that moved in the air and getting his body behind Scrafton’s follow-up.
Hutchings put Chi ahead four minutes into the second half when his cracking shot caught out Secka.
A lovely touch from Andrade teed up Axell for his first goal for his new club a minute later to make it 3-1.
Hutchings almost got in again following a mistake by the keeper before Hartley rattled the woodwork once more and Secka reacted first to grab the ball on the line after it came down from the bar.
There was nothing the Haven keeper when Andrade and Herbert linked up and Herbert chipped the ball over him.
Axell got his second and Chi’s fifth in the 81st minute, drilling the ball home after Andrade pulled a shot wide following a good cross from Hutchings.
Rutherford introduced Kaleem Haitham for Terrell Lewis down the flank and Ryan Peake for Ben Pashley at the back.
Andrade scored the final goal from the penalty spot with seven minutes to go after Haitham had been fouled.
The win ensures City remain three points ahead of second-place Saltdean, who have a game in hand.
Chichester, the RUR Cup holders, travel to Oakwood for their first match in this competition on Saturday.
Chi City: Matthews, Lewis, Martin, Dolcetti, Cody, Pashley, Axell, Way, Andrade, D Herbert, Hartley. Subs: S Herbert, Peake, Hutchings, Ndlovu, Haitham.
Chi City 4 Loxwood 2
A David Herbert double, along with a goal each for Tiago Andrade and substitute Sam Ndlovu, earned Chichester City a thrilling 4-2 victory over Loxwood - taking them five points clear at the top of the SCFL premier, a lead cut to four points 24 hours later.
Brendan Milborrow had the first chance of the game, with the centre-back climbing high to head the ball narrowly wide of the post.
Herbert was then beaten to the ball by the outrushing Liam Matthews, with Lorenzo Dolcetti going for goal from near enough the halfway line, only for Matthews to leap well and make a smart save.
Andrade, who has really stepped up to the mark in the absence of suspended Scott Jones, was a threat right from the start with a mixture of technical and powerful approaches and should have done better in the 12th minute with a gaping goal.
However, Andrade only had to wait four minutes before causing havoc in the visitors' penalty area, the ball diverted into the net off a defender.
City’s targetman continued to influence the game, this time setting Herbert up with a backheel, only for Chi’s captain to see his shot hit the side netting.
Lewis Westlake had a half-chance to equalise, but blazed his half-volley over Jordan Matthews' goal. Herbert doubled City’s lead after a neat one-two, slotting the ball past a helpless Liam Matthews.
Herbert and Andrade linked up again moments later, Herbert firing his shot just over the bar, with City playing some lovely football.
Five minutes after the restart, Callum Jardim saw his shot go over the bar before a chance for Kieran Hartley from a Dolcetti free kick, but the Chi full-back saw his effort fly over.
Tom Frankland pulled a goal back for Loxwood after great work from Alfie Gritt in a fine counter-attacking manoeuvre.
Substitute Ndlovu seemed to give Chi a comfortable gap with a fine finish, to the joy of the large crowd. However, a goal from Harry Williams gave Loxwood hope that a comeback was on the cards.
Those hopes were snuffed out late on when Herbert scored his second of the game with a cracking low drive from distance, followed by a passionate celebration, demonstrating how hard City had to work for these three points.
This leaves Chichester City top of the league, undefeated in six games after a seriously impressive start to the season.
Chi City: Matthews, Hartley, Martin, Dolcetti, Peake, Pashley, Axell, Dave Herbert, Andrade, Hutchings, Haitham. Subs: Steve Herbert, Cody, Way, Lewis, Ndlovu.