First Team
Isthmian League South East Sat 14 December Oaklands Park
Chichester City

A close one was probably on the cards given the sides’ current form. Guernsey lost last time out in the league but had gone five games unbeaten beforehand in an impressive run that included draws with table-toppers Hastings and second placed Cray Valley PM, and victories over fourth placed Ashford United and sixth place Sevenoaks.

Guernsey travel well and have picked up more points away than they have at home this season.

Chichester suffered a heavy defeat at Hastings in their last league game after going unbeaten in the previous four Isthmian South East matches.

Miles Rutherford & Co made a couple of changes to the XI that started against the U’s. Ryan Peake came in for November Player of the Month Connor Cody at the back and Emmett Dunn partnered Matt Axell in the middle of the park. A fit again Gicu Iordache joined Jamie Horncastle, Rory Biggs, Theo Bennetts and George Cody on the bench.

Mr Robinson brandished the first of seven yellow cards in the sixth minute when Dunn was hauled back by Carlos Canha as the Canadian looked to get Chi on the attack.

Moments later Guernsey top scorer Ross Allen missed the opening chance of the game when he latched on to a poor Ryan Davidson header back to keeper Steve Mowthorpe.

Allen, with four goals in his previous five games, couldn’t keep his shot down and passed up another opportunity in the next move after a shaky Chi defence failed to clear their lines.

Keanu Marsh then fired an effort into the side-netting as the home side struggled to get a foothold.

Josh Clack, wearing the skipper’s armband, had the first shot for the hosts in the 13th minute but it was an ambitious one from a difficult angle.

Then Kieran Mahon fouled Kaleem Haitham. Axell’s free-kick, however, eluded Dunn and Scott Jones.

Lloyd Rowlatt struck Callum Stanton in the chest with a fierce drive that the Guernsey keeper gathered at the second attempt.

At the other end Canha got away from Rob Hutchings to meet a cross from the left but volleyed over.

And on 20 minutes Stanton’s counterpart Steve Mowthorpe was off his line swiftly to beat Liam Mahon to an intelligent pass from sixteen year old Alex Scott who’s just signed a pre-contract agreement with Bristol City.

Man of the Match Lloyd Rowlatt (Photo: Neil Holmes)

A super challenge next from Man of the Match Rowlatt and pass to Haitham sent the nippy forward on his way. Haitham danced past a defender or two but didn’t really trouble Stanton with his shot.

Axell then picked out Jones who took the ball brilliantly on his chest but couldn’t find a finish to match.

Chances came and went for both sides around the half hour mark.

Liam Mahon tested Mowthorpe; Jones headed wide a Davidson delivery; Axell tidied up calmly after a Peake mistake presented Allen a gift; Clack failed to get a decent connection on Jones’ cross; and Corey Heath made an excellent tackle to deny the dangerous Allen.

Then just before the break Clack’s effort proved too hot to handle for Stanton. Stanton spilled the ball to Jones but made amends with a second save from the Chi striker.

Mowthorpe got a strong glove to a Scott rocket two minutes after the re-start before Peake went close with a header.

Jones then gathered the ball skilfully with his chest again but dragged his effort wide and Haitham controlled a mis-hit goal kick only to shoot straight at Stanton.

Kaleem Haitham tries to capitalise on a misplaced goal kick (Photo: Neil Holmes)

Matthew Loaring fired over for the visitors and Axell drilled one inches wide before there was a heart in mouth moment for Guernsey fans when Haitham’s cut-back was deflected just past the post for a corner.

The away team broke quickly from this and Canha pulled a fine stop out of Mowthorpe.

Hutchings and Dunn then linked up nicely but Clack’s attempt was always rising.

Jones was crowded out looking to pull the trigger before Heath forced Stanton into a spectacular tip-over with 15 minutes to go.

If Chi were second best in the first half, the second half was one they edged but the goal wouldn’t come.

Jones and Clack both spurned chances late on. A lovely through ball from Peake played Jones in but Stanton got down to his shot on the turn and then Jones teed up Clack only for the No7 to lift his effort over the bar.

Josh Clack has a shot (Photo: Neil Holmes)

Allen might have got a smash and grab winner but shot tamely at Mowthorpe

It was Chi’s first goalless draw in a league game at Oaklands Park in sixteen months.

Guernsey remain seventh in the Isthmian South East, one point behind those teams in play-off places while Chichester are twelfth, with three to five games in hand on others above and below.

Chi are back in league action at home under the lights on Tuesday 17th December against Ashford United (Kick Off 19:45). The Oaklands Park pitch cut up pretty badly at the weekend and more rain is forecast before the Ashford game. Updates will be shared on social media and the club’s official website.

Chichester – Mowthorpe, Davidson, Hutchings, Axell, Peake, Heath, Clack, Dunn, Jones, Rowlatt, Haitham. Subs – (Iordache, Horncastle, Biggs, Bennetts, George Cody)