First Team
Isthmian League South East Sat 26 February Oaklands Park
Chichester City
Hastings United
  • Parish (53')
  • Hull (90')

Hastings beat Chi 2-0 in the reverse fixture at the Pilot Field back in November snapping an unbeaten run for Miles Rutherford’s men in all competitions that month.

Since then the Isthmian south east division front-runners, and champions elect, have lost only once in thirteen league games.

The turn of the new year has seen Chichester, by way of contrast, experience a rocky roller-coaster.

They lost the first match of 2022 1-0 away at East Grinstead before beating Three Bridges by the same margin and drawing 1-1 against Whitehawk. A narrow 1-0 loss at home to Haywards Heath followed, before two league wins in a week for the first time this season over Burgess Hill, then the in-form team, and Sittingbourne at the start of February.

But they came into this encounter on the back of three straight defeats to Herne Bay, Cray Valley PM and Hythe Town.

Right back Ryan Davidson and midfielder Emmett Dunn, missing from the side that lost to Hythe last time out, returned to the starting XI with Kaleem Haitham and Tyrone Madhani dropping to the bench alongside U23s players Eric-Georges Dellaud, Charlie Oakwell-Boulton and Ollie Carroll.

There was nothing to choose between the teams in a goalless opening half where chances were at a premium, as had been the case in the previous encounter at Hastings.

An under-hit Rob Hutchings header back to his keeper gifted Ben Pope an early opportunity but Ben Pashley got in a timely block and the ball went out for the first corner of the match which Hutchings cleared.

Hastings’ Tom Chalmers then conceded a free-kick for handball and Lewis Hyde headed Hutchings’ poorly struck set-piece wide.

At the other end Ismaila Diallo, recently signed from Lancing, flicked on to fellow new boy Parish only for Chi custodian Kieran Magee to tidy up.

The hosts had another corner to deal with and Hyde battled effectively with Pope before Parish struck the first shot – a fierce one into Magee’s midriff on 15 minutes.

Diallo was the first, but not the last, to go into Adrian Harris’ notebook and then Hutchings conceded a free-kick on the edge of the area that was fired by Tommy Cooney straight into the two-man wall.

A super last-ditch challenge from Hyde broke up a Hastings attack.

Davidson cleared, Pashley blocked, and a shot nicked off another defender for a third corner which dropped on the roof of the net.

Pashley picked out Prichard with a lovely ping but the Chi No11 was tackled and the ball went out for a throw-in.

Next Pope spurned a decent opportunity heading narrowly over the bar after Hastings forced another corner on the half hour.

Clever skill from the mercurial Lloyd Rowlatt down the left flank set up Prichard for an effort that got deflected and four minutes later Josh Clack, who scored Chichester’s lone goal at Hythe, pulled a fine stop out of Louis Rogers.

Parish drilled a second shot into Magee’s gloves and in a bright spell of the half Ben Mendoza found Rowlatt whose 37th minute attempt ricocheted off an opponent.

The two Chi players combined again in the following move but Rowlatt’s high cross hung up too much and posed no trouble for the Hastings back four.

Jack Dixon won the ball off Dunn and tried to get his forwards in with a raking pass which was chested safely back to Magee by Hyde.

Ryan Worrall’s long-ranger had home fans’ hearts in their mouths just before the break but it curled inches wide of the right-hand post.

Mendoza and Finn O’Mara got a stiff talking to by Mr Harris, with the hosts’ midfielder being cautioned, before Mendoza tried an ambitious one from some distance which veered well off target.

Sam Hasler replaced Pope at the interval and Chalmers won a corner off Pashley sixty seconds in.

Hasler whipped this over only for Chichester to scramble clear.

Dunn’s speculative shot was then blocked and after a neat piece of skill to elude a Hastings player Pashley almost gave the ball inadvertently away.

The deadlock was finally broken after Magee clattered into Parish and the visitors were rightly awarded a penalty.

Parish dusted himself down and squeezed his spot kick into the bottom left hand corner off Magee’s fingertips.

Rambunctious away supporters behind the goal went nuts.

Magee was booked for his trouble as was Hasler five minutes later for a foul that would come back to haunt him.

Hull replaced Diallo and Haitham came on for Prichard with the visitors seeking to manage things and protect their slender lead.

Hasler ballooned a shot over the frame of the goal in the 61st minute; a Chalmers throw was hooked away; and Pashley joined others in the ref’s notepad.

Magee spooned a corner clear on 67 minutes before Hull’s acrobatic attempt swerved off the mark.

Hastings were reduced to ten men when Hasler was cautioned again for a crude challenge on Mendoza.

Chi made a mess of the resulting set-piece.

A bit of trickery from Clack in the area led to a corner which Hutchings disappointingly hit into the side-netting.

Kenny Pogue, who grabbed one of the two goals in the reverse fixture, was brought on with ten or so to go for Knory Scott and Madhani replaced Chi skipper Jamie Horncastle.

A late effort spun off Craig Stone but Rogers had things covered and gathered easily enough before a Mendoza header was deflected for a corner that the Hastings No1 punched firmly clear.

Hutchings took the next one short but defenders got in the way of Rowlatt’s shot.

And then in the four minutes of time added on an unmarked Hull slotted home Chalmers’ precision cross after the No6 jinked past a couple of players.

Chi are in RUR Cup quarter final action away at Littlehampton on Tuesday 1st March (Kick Off 7:30pm) and travel to Whitstable on Saturday 5th March (Kick Off 3pm) for an Isthmian south east match-up.

Chichester – Magee, Davidson, Hutchings, Horncastle, Hyde, Pashley, Rowlatt, Dunn, Clack, Mendoza, Prichard. Subs: (Haitham, Madhani, Carroll, Oakwell-Boulton, Dellaud)