First Team
Isthmian League South East Sat 23 April Oaklands Park
Chichester City
  • Bate (9')
  • Miller-Neave (17')

After two COVID-curtailed campaigns, the Sussex club finally got to complete a first ever Step 4 season finishing eleventh in the Isthmian south east division.

When Ramsgate and Chi met in the reverse fixture back in September the Kent side were third in the league, and looked like a shoo-in for a play-off spot, up until last month when a run of six straight losses derailed their promotion hopes.

On that occasion Miles Rutherford’s men came away with a hard-fought point after Tyrone Madhani came off the bench to score a late equaliser in an enthralling 2-2 draw.

Here, Rutherford & Co made two changes to the starting XI that grabbed a share of the spoils against Burgess Hill on Easter Monday as Lloyd Rowlatt and Kaleem Haitham returned in place of Madhani and the suspended Emmett Dunn.

The hosts started brightly enough and Ethan Prichard thumped a first minute effort into the side-netting after Lewis Hyde’s super pass sent Haitham away down the left.

Chi keeper Kieran Magee dealt with a long ball from Mitch Chapman and then gathered Tijan Jadama’s header easily, with the Rams player taking a knock for his troubles.

The home side pressed again and Rob Hutchings almost got Josh Clack in but Jacob Russell was quickly off his line to claim ahead of the striker.

Hyde sprayed another intelligent ball to Ben Mendoza only for Ben Fitchett to intercept.

A Clack cross was then headed away before the visitors went in front against the run of play after Hyde gave the ball away to Jadama who set up Bate for a simple finish on nine minutes.

Fitchett was booked by referee Jordan McRitchie 60 seconds later for a crude challenge on Haitham before a neat exchange between Lee Prescott and the impressive Miller-Neave earned Ramsgate the first corner of the game off Ryan Davidson.

Hyde got in well on a marauding Jerald Aboagye and then Miller-Neave ran on to Jake McIntyre’s pass and doubled the visitors’ advantage with a low effort into the bottom right hand corner that might have nicked off another player.

Chi then won a 19th minute corner which Hutchings whipped over too deep before Bate should have capitalised following a slip by Ben Pashley.

Rowlatt’s super ball to Clack got Chi going once more and Clack found Prichard whose delivery towards Mendoza was cut out.

A clever dink allowed Eddie Carrington to slip inside Pashley with ease and at the other end Russell beat Mendoza to the ball following a slick catalogue of passes.

Chi sucked Ramsgate out of shape just after the half hour mark as Pashley, Prichard and Davidson linked up to earn another corner that was punched away by Russell this time.

And then Jamie Horncastle struck a fierce attempt narrowly wide after Prichard, Mendoza and Davidson were all involved in the best move of the match so far.

Jamie Coyle hooked the ball out for a throw-in ahead of Clack, and Bate and Carrington combined in a Rams raid with Miller-Neave going over in the box, although Mr McRitchie waved away appeals for a pen.

Next, Jadama hit a wayward shot on the turn and the Chi back-line snuffed out danger posed by Chapman.

Clack then pulled a fine save out of Russell with the keeper getting a strong glove on the forward’s fierce attempt conceding a corner.

Mendoza took this one and opponents headed clear.

The visitors won a free-kick some 25 yards out on the stroke of half time which Bate struck high and wide.

Davidson, who picked up an injury just before the break, was replaced by Eric-Georges Dellaud at the interval.

Mendoza fired the first opportunity of the second period over the bar before Magee denied Bate, not once but twice, with an outstanding double save.

A nice piece of skill from Pashley permitted him to bring the ball out of the penalty area before Rowlatt and Hutchings drove down the right flank for a cross that was blocked.

Hyde tackled brilliantly once again and got Prichard away in a move that was broken up by Ramsgate defenders.

Dellaud and Mendoza probed down the other side but the No8 couldn’t deliver.

Then Fitchett headed clear a Hutchings cross and Chapman hacked away a Mendoza corner.

No one was arriving late at the far post, unfortunately, when Prichard swung one over 10 minutes in before Clack lost control after Prichard battled for the ball midfield.

Next, Pashley coped admirably as Aboagye centered and Miller-Neave hit an attempt straight at Magee.

Callum Emptage came on in place of Fitchett on the hour and after Rowlatt was brought down a Mendoza set-piece was headed clear.

Mendoza’s pass to Haitham was a little too strong before Clack wasn’t far off with a shot on 63 minutes.

In Chi’s best spell of the game Dellaud had a cracking drive blocked and Horncastle crashed an effort on to an upright off a defender.

Russell punched away the subsequent corner and a Rams player got something on Pashley’s long-ranger.

Rowlatt had a go next, but his attempt struck an opponent as well and deflected safely into Russell’s arms.

Stan Bridgman replaced Pashley in the 68th minute and Denzelle Olopade came on for Carrington as the visitors made another change too.

Trickery from Haitham earned the hosts a free-kick which came to nothing.

The game petered out somewhat.

A Mendoza corner didn’t beat the first man; Madhani replaced Haitham; Will Hoare was introduced for Carrington; and Hutchings’ shot spun away off a defender but Rowlatt couldn’t keep the loose ball in.

Madhani had an effort blocked with four to go before Hutchings conceded a needless corner which was headed onto the bar.

Chapman then missed a free header and Miller-Neave, stretching for the ball, sent over a poor cross.

And in the two minutes of time added on Olopade fired one well off target.

So, a season that generated a raft of emotions, highs and lows, euphoria and despair, over 38 league games and 13 cup matches in various competitions, drew to a close.

At the Presentation Evening after the game, Ryan Davidson picked up both the Supporters’ Player of the Year and the Players’ Player of the Year awards, and Kieran Magee won Managers’ Player of the Year.

Chichester – Magee, Davidson, Hutchings, Horncastle, Hyde, Pashley, Rowlatt, Mendoza, Clack, Prichard, Haitham. Subs: (Carroll, Dellaud, Madhani, Weinberger, Bridgman)