First Team
Isthmian League South East Sat 19 March Phoenix Sports Ground
Phoenix Sports
Chichester City
  • Clack (36', 64')
  • Haitham (45')
  • Overton (82')

Miles Rutherford & Co went with the same starting XI that lined up against Sevenoaks at Oaklands Park last time out.

Chichester snapped a four-game losing streak on that occasion and faced a side here scrapping for Isthmian league survival, but who’d beaten second placed Ashford United at their place in their previous match.

The opening 15 minutes or so, unlike the parakeets that raced regularly across the azure skyline, were dour to say the least with both sides struggling to acclimatise to the hard Mayplace Ground surface.

Skipper Ben Pashley headed away an early Henry Douglas cross; a move involving Clack, Overton, Ryan Davidson and Ben Mendoza broke down; as did one between Haitham, Davidson, Lloyd Rowlatt and Lewis Hyde.

The hosts were similarly guilty of poor control and passes hit astray.

Tom Cousins took one in the face when Davidson crossed and underwent a bit of treatment before Byron Walker caught Pashley with a late challenge.

Mendoza then sent Davidson away only for the right back to lose the ball motoring into the box.

Next, Davidson returned the compliment, to Clack this time, but Chi’s in-form forward, got his feet wrong.

Davidson mishit a delivery; keeper Kieran Magee did the same with a clearance; and Emmett Dunn couldn’t pick out a teammate.

Haitham did well on the left flank and found Overton who had unfortunately strayed offside.

Clack then set up Haitham for the first real chance of the match in the 19th minute only for Haitham to dally getting a shot off.

Rowlatt blocked Craig McGee’s effort before the Phoenix No4 struck one high and wide following an attack down the right.

Rob Hutchings dealt with the home side’s next move and Magee grabbed Douglas’ cross at the second attempt.

Mendoza and Haitham combined as Chi got going but the final ball was too firm for Clack and Overton, and then Clack drove into the area only to take too long to deliver.

Hyde fouled Luke Leppard after a neat exchange with Malaki Toussaint. Steve Carnell wasted the set-piece however, and it drifted out for a goal kick.

Clack was inches away from getting something on Mendoza’s 33rd minute cross but steered another super one home moments later to break the deadlock – his third goal in four games.

Leppard got a talking to by the ref for catching Davidson on the stretch. Hyde pinged the free-kick to Haitham whose delivery was cleared.

Pashley tackled smartly and Dunn shadowed Walker effectively as the hosts probed.

Centre back Toib Adeyemi nullified a move between Mendoza and Overton, and then headed clear Hutchings’ delivery.

A lovely piece of skill by Rowlatt, as he shifted the ball on to his left foot, engineered an effort that skewed narrowly wide before Walker was given the only card of the game for pulling back Dunn.

Chi won their first corner five minutes before the interval. Hutchings sent this deep, although, there was no one at the far post.

Rowlatt pulled another shot after the ball bobbled and Magee came out swiftly to claim ahead of Walker.

Nice feet from Haitham following Overton’s pass set him up for a cross into Steve Phillips’ gloves, but there was nothing the Phoenix keeper could do in the minute of time added on when Haitham dropped his shoulder, got past a couple of players, and slotted a slick finish away to make it 2-0.

Toussaint spooned one over the bar after a poor Magee kick in the first attack of the second half and Clack sent a cross in too close to Phillips as Chi responded.

A free-kick conceded by the hard-working Dunn came to nothing as well before Hutchings’ corner was cleared by the first man.

Toussaint then made a hash of his delivery as Phoenix got in three-on-three some 10 minutes in.

Hyde, challenging superbly, advanced the ball to Clack and Overton who were both flagged offside.

Douglas crashed Haitham into the advertising boards and Dunn was on the receiving end of a niggling foul from Walker.

A couple of Chi moves fizzled out on the hour mark and Walker blew a decent opportunity after a mistake from a defender – dragging his shot wide of the right-hand post.

Hutchings’ intelligent pass to Overton was beautifully controlled by the Sussex side’s top scorer but he fired off target before Phillips denied Hutchings and dealt with Overton’s follow-up attempt easily enough.

On 66 minutes Mendoza won the ball and fed Hutchings who picked out Clack and the Chi No10 found the back of the net via a deflection.

Phoenix brought on Andre Thompson-Fearon and Roberto Ratti, turning out for a third team this term against Chi, for Cousins and Walker in a double substitution.

Hutchings coped with Thompson’s pace in a counter down the right before Haitham’s wild swing failed to trouble Phillips.

Composed defending from Pashley snuffed out a threat and then Hutchings got Clack in again but he couldn’t tuck the ball away this time.

A coming together between Hutchings and Douglas earned the hosts a free-kick. Pashley headed this clear and Magee was on hand to gather when Alfie Evans’ cross came over.

Ethan Prichard and Tyrone Madhani were introduced for Mendoza and Haitham with 15 to go.

Carnell drove wide a minute later and Pashley bailed Hutchings out for an error, taking a knock in the process.

Prichard pulled a save out of Phillips seconds before Overton caught the Phoenix keeper out with the goal of the game off the underside of the bar – his 14th of the season in all competitions.

Hutchings made way for Eric-Georges Dellaud, as did Douglas for Josh Dorling.

Dunn steered Thompson-Fearon’s delivery out for an 85th minute corner before Rowlatt, who bossed the midfield in the second period, found Overton.

Prichard then tried his luck with a long-ranger and at the other end Magee, barely troubled all afternoon, claimed Thompson-Fearon’s under-hit effort, and great defending by Davidson prevented Carnell from having a go in the three additional minutes as Rutherford’s men collected a first double-scalp of the campaign.

Chichester remain eleventh, but have a game in hand over the four teams above them, and are just two points behind Sittingbourne in seventh spot.

After two consecutive wins and clean sheets, with only league leaders Hastings having a meaner defensive record, Chi are back on the road away at Ashford United on Saturday 26th March (Kick Off 3pm) before welcoming Littlehampton Town to Oaklands Park for that rearranged RUR Cup quarter final tie on Tuesday 29th March (Kick Off 7:45pm).

Chichester – Magee, Davidson, Hutchings, Dunn, Hyde, Pashley, Rowlatt, Mendoza, Overton, Clack, Haitham. Subs: (Prichard, Dellaud, Madhani, Coote)