First Team
Isthmian League South East Sat 12 November Hanbury Park
Haywards Heath
  • Napper (45')
  • Franzen-Jones (45')
Chichester City
  • Prichard (11', 64')

Hanbury Park hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for Chi in recent years, but this was a real humdinger.

The hosts, who were beaten semi-final play-off finalists last season and rarely out of the top four, by contrast, have had an indifferent start to this campaign and came into the match fourth from bottom in the league.

Eight regulars returned to the Chi starting XI following the 1-0 mid-week Velocity Cup loss to Isthmian premier division side Margate.

Ryan Davidson and Rob Hutchings lined up at right and left back; Connor Cody featured in the heart of the back four; Ethan Robb, Adam Biss, Lloyd Rowlatt and Joe Clarke slotted into midfield; with Josh Clack back up top.

And it was skipper Clack who had the game’s first chance firing a shot on the turn into Heath keeper Billy Collings’ midriff with five minutes on the clock after good work by Biss and Prichard.

Biss then got in well on Alex Laing as did Davidson on an advanced Tom Cadman.

Next, Prichard, who shone all afternoon, collected a nice forward pass and thumped one into the side-netting before Robb’s ball towards Clarke was cut out.

A composed Ben Pashley tidied up as Heath pressed and Clarke picked Clack whose effort was saved once again by Collings.

Prichard broke the deadlock in the 11th minute finishing off a slick move involving Clarke and Clack.

The home side might have replied almost instantly but Magee pulled off a fine stop to deny Laing.

A dangerous cross from Rowlatt was then headed away before Biss blazed over.

Magee gave the ball away cheaply, not for the last time, to Thomas Collins but redeemed himself with an outstanding save, not for the last time either.

The Chi custodian got a glove on the subsequent corner and conceded another one on the other side.

Darryl Siaw blasted the loose ball on target only for a defender to make a block for a third corner in a couple of minutes which Davidson hacked away.

Cody exchanged passes with Clarke and found Hutchings as he marauded forward but Hutchings delayed whipping a cross in first time.

Another Magee slip presented Heath with a chance which was saved somehow by the No1’s thigh and this was trumped by a follow-up stop as Magee got behind a fierce effort.

Laing struck one high and wide on the half hour mark before Siaw headed over Laing’s corner a minute or so later.

Another golden opportunity to equalise went begging when Cadman just needed to make contact at the back stick after a swift counter attack.

Clack, who scored a worldie for Heath in the corresponding fixture last year, dragged a shot wide on 33; Davidson bailed a teammate out; and a clever Hutchings’ touch got Prichard in although a defender managed to recover.

And with things looking good for Chi the game turned on its head as Robb picked up two yellows in as many minutes and the visitors had over half the game to play with ten.

Pashley cleared the consequent set-piece but Heath captain Byron Napper rifled a spectacular 30-yarder into the back of the net to make it all square.

Heath heaped further woe on this double whammy in time added on when former Chichester player Lukas Franzen-Jones grabbed his first goal for his latest club and the away side were both a man and a goal down.

The second half was high octane stuff once more with both Magee and his counterpart Collings producing a catalogue of super saves.

Hutchings drove an attempt over the frame of the goal after neat play from Clarke six minutes in before the hosts wasted a final ball to open up Chi.

Nice skill from the visitors’ left back then set up a delivery towards Davidson who impeded his opponent.

A free-kick after Prichard was fouled wasn’t far off and when the same Chi player was caught again a clever set-piece nearly picked out Clarke rushing into the six-yard box.

Cody went on one of those mazy runs of his after Pashley held Franzen-Jones off superbly and Prichard, a constant threat, fizzed his shot over the bar.

Siaw was cautioned on 62 for a challenge on Clarke before Kaleem Haitham replaced the No10.

And then Prichard bagged his eighth goal of the season with an audacious top bins fee-kick to level things up.

Heath cranked it up a gear and only an excellent block prevented them regaining the lead; Clack bicycle kicked away; and Pashley, in the same resilient mood as his teammates, headed a corner kick clear.

The hosts rang the changes just before Collings finger-tipped Clack’s shot to safety and Cody made an important last-ditch tackle at the other end.

Next, Rowlatt got in bravely and Chi rejigged for the final 15 bringing on Olly Munt for Biss.

Prichard might have had a hat-trick on 80 minutes but Collings saved magnificently for a corner which came to nothing.

Munt then struck a post with a thunderous shot before being fouled by James Dickson and lifting the free-kick over the bar.

Heath sub Callum Chesworth ghosted past Hutchings and Pashley got a foot in to steer his cross out for a corner which Davidson also got something on.

It was backs to the wall now for Chi, although Hutchings managed to bomb up the left flank regularly and nearly found Haitham with a delivery three minutes from time.

Collings thwarted Munt at close range in the last minute of normal time and Magee was forced into a double save, the second a brilliant reflex one, on 92.

And was at it again – his outstretched strong arm denying a 94th minute winner as the side with a player disadvantage deservedly took a share of the spoils.

Chi travel to Peacehaven & Telscombe for a Sussex Senior Cup second round tie on Tuesday 15th November (Kick Off 7:45pm) before returning to league action when Cray Valley PM visit Oaklands Park on Saturday 19th November (Kick Off 3pm).

Chichester – Magee, Davidson, Hutchings, Robb, Cody, Pashley, Rowlatt, Biss, Clack, Clarke, Prichard (Moore, Hyde, Munt, Haitham).