First half goals from Matt Axell and Lloyd Rowlatt capped off a historic cup week for Chichester City as they followed up Tuesday night’s FA Cup win with victory in their inaugural appearance in the FA Trophy.
- Axell (10')
- Rowlatt (21')
- McCollin (55')
Chichester were again without strikers Scott Jones, Jimmy Wild and Callum Overton. Josh Clack, who wore the No9 shirt midweek, was unavailable as were Rory Biggs and Jamie Horncastle, the match winner against Hartley in the cup. Ryan Peake came in to partner Connor Cody at the heart of the defence with the Chi captain’s brother George lining up alongside forwards Kaleem Haitham and Gicu Iordache. Emmett Dunn joined Rowlatt and Axell in midfield.
Steve Mowthorpe was the first keeper called into action, gathering a shot from Reece Price-Placid after Peake got his body in the way of a well-struck effort following a long throw from John Lansdale.
Axell then had a shot blocked at the other end before Rowlatt’s attempt cannoned off his teammate.
When the sides met ten days ago at Oaklands Park in a league encounter Chichester couldn’t find a way past an inspired Kieron Thorp but this time the Bridges’ keeper was beaten after barely ten minutes, Axell calmly slotting his spot-kick to Thorp’s left after Iordache had been fouled by Tadley Bromage.
The visitors should have been level moments later but an unmarked Andre Sesay headed wide.
Lansdale whipped the first corner of the game inches away from skipper Dean Gunner and then a raking cross field ball by his City counterpart sent Rob Hutchings scampering down the left.
Mowthorpe was out smartly to deal with an underhit back pass before gathering a set-piece easily enough.
Cody did well to shrug off a marauding Sesay in the 19th minute and got Chi going with the move that led to the second goal.
A trademark turn of pace from Haitham saw him past trailing players to find Rowlatt. The midfielder took time to pick his spot and drilled the ball beyond a despairing Thorp.
Ryan Davidson, rock solid in a run of games now, dealt with the threat posed by Sesay in the visitors’ next attack and might have got on the end of Rowlatt’s freekick on the half hour but for a timely intervention by Troy Williams.
Next Tolfrey, who scored the penalty that separated the sides last time out, shot on the turn before Andre McCollin crashed an effort against the woodwork as Chi went off the boil somewhat.
Josh Maloney came on for Gicu in the 34th minute and appeared to be elbowed in an off the ball incident that the referee didn’t see – there would be another one of these after the interval.
Mowthorpe then got a glove on a cross-shot from Sesay.
The hosts huffed and puffed in a below par second half.
Maloney forged an opportunity here and there with Thorp gathering one of these at the second attempt.
Peake then headed clear Lansdale’s delivery. Tolfrey latched on to the loose ball and played it back into the box but Mowthorpe claimed comfortably.
The Chi keeper was annoyed with himself when Bridges pulled one back 11 minutes after the restart. McCollin’s goal that curled into the bottom right hand corner was the first one conceded by Miles Rutherford’s side in open play in just over 500 minutes.
Buoyed by this the visitors piled on some pressure. Sesay headed off target and Mowthorpe palmed a drive away.
Axell then was inches away from picking out Dunn before the Canadian drove into the box and squared the ball to Haitham.
Tolfrey and Tyrone Berry linked up subsequently in a flowing move that Davidson broke up with a brilliant tackle.
Dunn almost got to Man of the Match Rowlatt’s set-piece with fifteen to go but Thorp punched clear.
Sesay shot narrowly over and Mowthorpe was forced into a fine stop as Bridges sought an equaliser.
George Cody and Denis Gurau both had shots blocked in the last five minutes and fellow sub Theo Bennetts couldn’t quite get a connection after Haitham fed the ball into his path.
There was a late scare for Chi in added time but Mowthorpe was quick off his line to deny Tolfrey.
Chichester travel to Bedfordshire for the next round of the FA Trophy to play Barton Rovers on Saturday 12th October (Kick Off 3pm), and the third game in three weeks with Three Bridges is set for Tuesday 8th October at Jubilee Field this time in the Velocity Trophy (Kick Off 7:45pm).
Beforehand Chi are making history again when they host Enfield Town in the third qualifying round of the FA Cup on Saturday 5th October (Kick Off 3pm). The last time a Chichester City side got this far in the competition was nearly fifty years ago in the 1971-72 season.
Chichester – Mowthorpe, Davidson, Hutchings, Axell, Connor Cody, Peake, Iordache, Dunn, George Cody, Rowlatt, Haitham. Subs: Bennetts, Heath, Gurau, Maloney.