First Team
Isthmian League South East Tue 16 August Oaklands Park
Chichester City
  • Haitham (81')
Burgess Hill

Miles Rutherford’s men won the corresponding fixture 2-1 last year thanks to first half goals from Callum Overton and Lloyd Rowlatt, snapping a sequence of five straight wins for the Hillians, then the Isthmian south east division in-form side.

And Ben Mendoza’s 90th minute wunder-strike earned Chi a point on Easter Monday at Burgess Hill in the penultimate game of 2021-22.

Here, there were three changes to the starting XI that featured in the curtain raiser draw against Sheppey United last time out with Ben Pashley replacing the injured Connor Cody at centre back, Emmett Dunn returning to midfield, and Ryan Pennery given the No11 shirt ahead of Haitham.

Both teams huffed and puffed in the opening 45 with neither keeper really tested.

Pashley and Hill striker Dan Perry regularly duelled and the Chi CB did well to clear Max Miller’s cross along with Dunn five minutes in.

Moments later Pennery got into the visitors’ box but the back line managed to break things up.

Miller then blazed one over before Rob Hutchings blocked a Reggie Ward delivery.

Chi stopper Kieran Magee got a connection on the subsequent cross and Overton had a shot deflected for the first corner of the evening on 12 minutes.

Olly Munt whipped this in and Lewis Hyde had a go before an outrageous flick from skipper Josh Clack wasn’t far off.

Hutchings’ corner almost fell to Hyde at the back stick but he couldn’t get it down.

Kieran Rowe and Miller then hooked up but Magee was able to gather the No7’s cross.

Lewis Finney got a talking to from referee David Morey at the mid-point and then Martyn Box picked out Perry whose shot nicked off a Chi defender for a corner.

Clack glanced Hutchings’ 25th minute free-kick narrowly wide before Ryan Davidson made an outstanding sliding challenge.

Next, Burgess Hill wasted a set-piece as a teammate strayed offside when Hayden Skerry delivered.

The visitors had a foothold of sorts now and Skerry outdid Hyde in an aerial battle in the following attack.

Conrad Honore blocked Skerry’s free-kick and Overton blasted the loose ball away.

A cross from Hill captain Josh Spinks was then steered out for a corner and Rowe got past Honore only for Hyde to challenge Box.

Pashley hit one on 35 minutes but it curled off target; Box couldn’t get Spinks’ pass under control; and Hutchings managed to cut out a ball intended for Miller.

Hutchings then went shoulder to shoulder with Miller and conceded a corner on the stroke of half time which Skerry delivered and flashed an effort wide after it was smuggled clear to him.

Magee claimed a cross-cum-shot in the first attack after the re-start.

Davidson was then pulled down by Miller and caught by Box before the Chi right back headed wide a Dunn cross under pressure.

Box fired one in at the other end but the hosts’ cleared this easily enough before Munt found Overton who pulled the trigger only to have his attempt blocked.

Chi won a free-kick 10 minutes in, although Hyde couldn’t quite get to it.

Miller then had a shot diverted for a corner that came to nothing after Honore was dispossessed.

Burgess Hill lost skipper Spinks on the hour mark just before Finney dragged a shot wide and Rowe’s diag fell to an offside player.

Davidson sent Clack away down the right flank with a super pass to win a throw and Munt hit a shot on the turn into Will Huffer’s midriff.

Things livened up in a five-minute spell as Nic Darienzo received the game’s first booking; Pennery was upended in the penalty area, although Mr Morey wasn’t interested; Clack got a yellow too; Ethan Prichard replaced Munt and Brad Santos came on for Box.

Darienzo did well to hold Overton off with 20 to go and then Pennery teed Prichard up for a somewhat wayward cross before Rowe almost got Perry in.

Davidson and Miller were involved in a foot-race on 75 minutes, and Pennery was replaced by Haitham.

Next, Hyde sought out Clack with a ping but Huffer came out smartly to clear.

Prichard, who certainly made an impact, controlled Clack’s cross superbly but had his shot on the spin blocked for a corner.

Clack then had his pocket picked by Rowe before composure by Honore allowed him to tidy up in the area.

The winner came when outstanding work from Prichard presented Haitham with an opportunity he did not waste – striking the ball down and past a hapless Huffer.

An injured Hyde was replaced by Tom Dinsmore in the 83rd minute just before Honore pulled a shot off target.

Hutchings then received lengthy treatment for a knock and Rowe over-hit a through ball.

Prichard broke swiftly after Chi dealt with the consequent Hill corner only to give away a free-kick.

Overton, Ward and Finney were all booked in a frenetic finale as Chi dug in in the eight minutes of time added on to earn their first league win of the season and a fourth place spot.

Next up at Oaklands Park is an Emirates FA Cup preliminary round tie against Knaphill on Saturday 20th August (Kick Off 3pm).

Chichester – Magee, Davidson, Hutchings, Honore, Hyde, Pashley, Clack, Dunn, Overton, Munt, Pennery (Prichard, Dellaud, Haitham, Dinsmore, Clarke).