The visitors, who came in to the match at the wrong end of the Isthmian south east table after losses to Hythe and Beckenham Town in their opening two league games, beat Chi 3-0 in the corresponding fixture last year in what was possibly one of the Sussex side’s most ponderous performances of the 2021-22 season.
There were four changes to the starting XI that featured for Chi last time out against Knaphill in the FA Cup preliminary round. Eric-Georges Dellaud replaced Rob Hutchings at left back, Lewis Hyde partnered Ben Pashley in the centre of the defence, and both Callum Overton and Kaleem Haitham returned.
The hosts started brightly enough with skipper Josh Clack probing early doors only to lose the ball down the right flank before having a shot blocked.
Corinthian keeper Dan Colmer then got behind Clack’s next effort and Dellaud might have popped a cross into the box after neat work from Lloyd Rowlatt and Ryan Davidson.
The away side took the lead against the run of play through a fortuitous goal on seven minutes after Daniel Correia Lopes broke down the left, Davidson missed a challenge and Festos Kamara scrambled the ball into the back of the net.
Oladapo Michael Olatunji was given the first of the four yellow cards referee Anthony Smith dished out five minutes later for a foul on Clack after a neat turn by the Chi No7 before an incredulous Dan Pepple was disappointed to be flagged offside – by a country mile to be fair.
Silky skill from Dellaud enabled him to cross to Overton but the striker’s overhead didn’t quite come off.
Hyde then made a super tackle on Pepple who’d been found by Oscar Housego, and Haitham opened things up with a lovely run and pass to Ryan Pennery whose header was grabbed easily enough by Colmer.
Correia Lopes wasn’t tracked as Corinthian countered but Emmett Dunn steered his delivery out at the mid-point before a nice pass off the outside of Clack’s boot fell to Haitham only for the move to finally fizzle out.
A Clack set-piece was headed clear and the visitors almost got in when Hyde turned the ball over and Ahmed Salim Futa and Kamara hooked up.
Rowlatt then drew a foul off Futa, who man-marked him attentively all game, on the half hour and Clack’s resulting free-kick was gathered by Colmer after it skidded under the wall.
Davidson got up well and after a bit of pinball Pennery went the wrong way before Overton pulled a shot wide.
The impressive Correia Lopes picked Clack’s pocket and the Chi captain bundled Housego over for a free-kick which came to nothing.
Pennery then joined Olatunji in Mr Smith’s notebook for a lunge and miss on Brandon Davey and moments later teed Overton up for Chi’s best chance so far – a shot on the turn that flashed narrowly over the bar.
Housego miraculously escaped a yellow after a catalogue of heavy challenges before the hosts won their first corner of the game on 44 minutes. Rowlatt hit this too deep and the Kent based side broke swiftly with Haitham making a lung-busting run to divert the ball out for another corner kick.
Correia Lopes did Davidson as the visitors attacked five minutes in to the second half but he couldn’t pick a teammate.
Then Futa had a cross cleared and Clack hung one up at the other end which Colmer gloved out for a corner that Rowlatt took and the shot-stopper gathered under pressure from Dunn.
Next, Davey scythed Rowlatt down and got a caution. Rowlatt pulled a save out of Colmer with the consequent set-piece and a defender hacked the loose ball away.
Both Dellaud and Haitham crossed poorly as Chi sought to get back into the match before a triple substitution saw Ethan Prichard, Olly Munt and Dinsmore replace Hyde, Pennery and Haitham on the hour mark.
Prichard almost had an immediate impact but struck his attempt over the woodwork.
Munt then pulled an outrageous save out of Colmer who palmed the sub’s well-hit free-kick behind.
Clack and Dellaud combined as the momentum swung earning the hosts a corner that Munt delivered and Colmer claimed.
A rare raid by the visitors led to Harry Sargent shooting into Kieran Magee’s midriff but the Chi custodian held on to it.
Clack and Dellaud exchanged passes once more only for the latter’s cut back to get cut out and Munt nearly found Davidson at the back stick with 10 to go.
Magee then flapped at Tiannie Wilson’s effort conceding a corner which was over-hit by Housego.
James Allen could have got in as Corinthian threatened again but Dunn and Dellaud made outstanding recovery challenges.
A last-ditch tackle on Munt had the Oaklands Park faithful baying for red – the ref, however, wasn’t interested.
With Corinthian sitting so deep they might have been in the tennis club Clack earned the home side an 86th minute corner.
Munt pulled it back to Dinsmore who levelled things up from some distance with his first goal for his new club.
Chances came and went in the five minutes of time added on but neither team could find a winner.
Chi remain unbeaten after three league games and travel to Lancing on Bank Holiday Monday 29th August (Kick Off 3pm) before facing Leatherhead away in the FA Cup on Saturday 3rd September (Kick Off 3pm).
Chichester – Magee, Davidson, Dellaud, Dunn, Hyde, Pashley, Clack, Rowlatt, Pennery, Overton, Haitham (Munt, Prichard, Hutchings, Dinsmore, Carroll).