Chichester City have been in the news this week’s following Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick’s comments about the injury he suffered playing in a match for Southwick against Chi when he was in England studying at the University of Sussex.
It’s been quite a month though for Miles Rutherford’s side on the pitch, and Chi are unbeaten in eight games now, winning six matches in this sequence, with clean sheets in their last four.
The City boss made several changes to the starting XI that faced Hanwell Town midweek in that Velocity Trophy penalty shoot-out victory. Top scorer Callum Overton returned, in place of Scott Jones, as did defender Rob Hutchings, Emmett Dunn and Rowlatt.
Overton had the first shot of a match played in testing conditions as Storm Arwen lashed the UK, but couldn’t find the mark, and then Jamie Horncastle made a super tackle when Emmanuel Oloyede and Frankie Morgan exchanged passes.
Davidson got Tyrone Madhani in only for Corinthian keeper Aiden Prall to palm his effort on to a post for a corner which Madhani whipped across and a defender headed away.
Oloyede went down too easily in the Chi box moments later – referee Daniel Doyle wasn’t interested.
Oscar Housego, Josh James and James Billings combined as the Kent team pressed but Horncastle tidied up again.
And then the ball skewed awkwardly off Davidson out for a corner which Rowlatt headed clear.
Madhani next took one touch too many and the Chi counter broke down before he whipped in a super cross in the following attack, although no teammate had gambled.
Kaleem Haitham lifted an attempt high over the bar in the 15th minute ahead of Magee spooning a clearance out for a Corinthian corner delivered by Jack Mahoney to an unmarked Ryan Sawyer who prodded over the frame of the goal.
A lovely pass down the right saw Dunn and Overton link up and Haitham try his luck.
Overton headed Davidson’s cross wide in the subsequent move with Haitham driving in behind him.
Davidson was involved again with a lung-busting run but should have released a pass to Madhani earlier and the move petered out.
At the mid-point Ben Mendoza found Rowlatt who made a poor decision and the ball went out for a Corinthian goal kick.
Chi conceded an unnecessary corner on 24 minutes that Housego hit too deep with a defender impeded anyway.
Brilliant defending from Pashley denied Oloyede once more and both Billings and Sawyer spurned decent opportunities, the latter firing over from close range.
A nice passage of play involving Mendoza, Haitham and Hutchings won a corner that the first man hooked away only as far as Rowlatt who struck one into Prall’s gloves.
Pashley next fed Davidson. The No2 moved the ball on to Rowlatt and then Madhani, but his effort fizzed narrowly the wrong side of the upright.
At the other end the hard-working Oloyede flicked a neat pass to Brandon Davey only for Magee to get to the loose ball first.
Chi wasted a couple of deliveries before a clever backheel might have played Oloyede in but Magee was out swiftly enough again before claiming another cross assuredly.
Housego then moved Billings’ set-piece on to Mahoney who pulled one wide.
Slick passing between Pashley, Hutchings, Haitham and Mendoza forced a corner five minutes before the break which Madhani took and Prall punched clear.
Dunn picked up an odd yellow card and Morgan sent in a dangerous free kick only for a fellow player to be flagged offside.
Chichester won a couple of set plays of their own as half time approached that came to nothing before an interchange between Davidson and Mendoza teed up Haitham for a crack which wasn’t far off target.
A foul on Davey brought the hosts an early free kick after the restart which an offside Jack Bath headed into Magee’s hands and then Overton dragged an effort following good work by Madhani and Mendoza.
The game turned five minutes in when Rowlatt broke the deadlock with a worldie from fully 25 yards.
Madhani pulled off a super twist and turn after clever work from Davidson but Mendoza shot way off and then Davidson had defending to do as Corinthian threatened.
How the hosts didn’t equalise just before the hour is anyone’s guess – with the ball ricocheting around in the box Magee, Pashley and other Chi players got in multiple blocks to deny four back-to-back attempts.
The visitors lost Haitham to a hamstring injury with Ethan Prichard coming on in his place and then Dunn got an important foot in to prevent a shot and Jack Holland fizzed another just over.
Chichester weathered a storm and things settled down again.
Prichard hit one on the spin that nicked off Sawyer for a corner which was cleared on the goal line.
Housego was given a card for simulation before a bit of handbags led to further cautions for Overton and Oloyede.
Madhani played in Mendoza who crashed into Prall and Hutchings nearly picked out Overton with a cross from the left.
Davidson doubled the advantage on 80 minutes cutting in from the right across the penalty area. His first effort was saved but he made no mistake with the follow up for his second goal of the season.
Corinthian might have pulled one back straight from the kick off after a marauding run opened things up and Prichard forged two good opportunities late on but steered an attempt wide and the other nicked off a defender and into the arms of Prall.
Jones replaced Mendoza as the clock ticked down and Charlie Oakwell-Boulton came on for Hutchings who’d picked up a slight knock.
Both keepers had shots to save in time added on – Magee gathering one from the left hand side and Prall denying Overton.
The win moves Chi up into the top half of the table for the first time this season.
Miles Rutherford’s men are on the road again at Hastings in their last game of November on Tuesday 30th (Kick Off 7:45pm) and welcome Isthmian south east league leaders Ashford United to Oaklands Park on Saturday 4th December (Kick Off 3pm).
Chichester – Magee, Davidson, Hutchings, Horncastle, Rowlatt, Pashley, Haitham, Dunn, Overton, Madhani, Mendoza. Subs: (Carroll, Oakwell-Boulton, Jones, Prichard)