Chichester eased past former county league rivals Saltdean to the next round of the Sussex Senior Cup.
- Clack (2')
- Hutchings (57')
- Iordache (62')
- (65', 86')
- McCreadie (38')
Josh Clack put the Oaklands Park outfit in front from the penalty spot early on but Trevor McCreadie grabbed an equaliser just before the break.
Three goals in eight second half minutes from Rob Hutchings, Gicu Iordache and Devon Fender gave Chi an unassailable lead and a tough night for the visitors was sealed with an own goal by Saltdean skipper Joe Shelley four minutes from the final whistle.
The hosts, without striker Scott Jones, welcomed Kaleem Haitham back to an otherwise unchanged starting XI that battled to an impressive win last time out against Herne Bay. Youngsters Theo Bennetts and Ethan Prichard joined a fit again Ryan Davidson and Ant Ender on the bench.
Saltdean, who came into the match top of the SCFL premier division, fell behind in the second minute after Clack was brought down in the box. The No7 picked himself and slotted his penalty kick calmly beyond George Bentley.
Chi had another two penalty appeals waved away in as many minutes when first Iordache and then Fender were on the end of heavy challenges in the area.
Bentley had to have his wits about him as the home side pressed and the Tigers’ keeper did well to gather a Hutchings’ delivery after good work from Haitham.
Captain Connor Cody, who travelled a lot of ground all evening, then sent in a cross from the other flank but it was too deep for Haitham at the back post.
Ben Pashley reacted smartly to a through ball from Shelley 14 minutes in and tidied things up before a super pass by Pashley’s defensive partner Corey Heath found Haitham who turned sharply and forced Bentley to claim.
Next Iordache smashed an effort high and wide following a nice ball from Lloyd Rowlatt and then Rowlatt almost caught Bentley out with a free-kick after Haitham was tackled from behind by Dan Beck.
Iordache shot inches wide moments later when a neat pass by Emmett Dunn got Clack away on a mazy run.
Chi keeper Steve Mowthorpe had a cross to deal with at the midway point after Saltdean probed down the right while Fender whipped in one of his own at the other end that was nodded clear.
Heath then got in but he couldn’t get enough purchase on his effort and once again the visitors managed to clear their lines.
Haitham flashed a shot inches wide when a poor defensive header gifted him an opportunity and was then caught by Dean Stewart-Hunter. The Saltdean player picked up the first yellow card and Iordache crashed his set-piece into the wall.
Clack then struck a fierce shot that Bentley managed to control at the second attempt on the half hour mark.
A slick move involving Rowlatt, Cody and Clack won the hosts another corner. Hutchings played this one short to Clack who found Haitham but Dunn couldn’t get a connection when the ball finally came in.
A lovely ping from Rowlatt sent Fender away on goal ten minutes before the interval only for Bentley to get down low to deny the No9.
Chichester could have/should have been out of sight and conceded an equaliser when McCreadie latched on to a lovely defence splitting ball from George Hayward in the 38th minute and found the back of the net.
The Saltdean striker might have put his latest side ahead three minutes into the second half but Mowthorpe pulled off a super save.
Nice play from Fender then set up Cody who’d moved from one side of the pitch to the other only to have his shot charged down.
Left back Hutchings though restored the lead in the next attack beating Bentley at his right hand post.
And it was 3-1 five minutes later thanks to a neat finish from Iordache for the in-form Romanian’s sixth goal in five games.
Bentley was out swiftly to beat both Clack and Fender to the ball but in the 65th minute could do nothing about Fender’s first strike for Chi since signing from Alfold.
With a three goal cushion Miles Rutherford & Co rang the changes and Prichard, Davidson and Bennetts came on for Fender, Heath and Iordache.
Prichard was soon involved and a burst of pace down the right wing earned a corner that Bentley punched away.
Haitham also called Bentley into action but his shot lacked the sort of power to really trouble the Saltdean keeper.
Davidson had a cross thumped clear and then had defending to do when a sharp turn and pass from Brad Williams might have got McCreadie in again.
The visitors’ No9 and Rowlatt both shot inches wide in the space of sixty seconds just before Bennetts cracked an effort against the bar after an amazing twist from Rowlatt got him past his marker. Bennetts’ shot crashed down off the woodwork but not over the line.
Dunn then fired just off target and Reece Hallard beat Davidson down the left and forced Mowthorpe into a decent stop.
Bennetts threaded a measured ball through to Clack with five to go only for the referee’s assistant to flag for offside.
Chi wrapped up a first back to back win of the campaign, in this, their last match before at least a month of lockdown, when man of the match Rowlatt sent Prichard on a run down the right flank. The seventeen-year-old fizzed in a cross that was steered past his own keeper by Shelley.
Chichester – Mowthorpe, Cody, Hutchings, Dunn, Heath, Pashley, Clack, Rowlatt, Fender, Iordache, Haitham. Subs – (Bennetts, Prichard, Davidson, Ender)