There were just two changes to the starting XI that lost to Cray Valley PM last time out with Emmett Dunn slotting in for the suspended Ryan Davidson and the Oaklands Park faithful giving a warm welcome to Jamie Horncastle who returned to centre-mid following his spell in the Marines.
The visitors came in to this encounter with three wins, two draws and a loss in their previous six matches – one of these an impressive 4-2 scalp away at league leaders Ramsgate.
Skipper Clack similarly grabbed the only goal of the game in the corresponding fixture last season and a late Louis Collins’ equaliser cancelled out Callum Overton’s opener as ten-man Oaks nicked a point in the reverse at the Bourne Stadium.
The hosts started with genuine intensity here and Sevenoaks keeper Tyler McCarthy managed to get something behind Clack’s fierce free-kick early doors. Kaleem Haitham reacted quickest but couldn’t steer the loose ball beyond the visiting shot-stopper.
At the other end McCarthy’s counterpart Kieran Magee lost control under pressure from Ryan Gondoh and conceded a corner which came to nothing before Lloyd Rowlatt, who put in a real shift, made an outstanding tackle on Fumnaya Shomotun as the No7 drove into the box.
Rowlatt was at it again moments later with a second timely challenge to deny Lex Beeden and Rob Hutchings put a bit too much on his forward pass towards Ethan Prichard.
A decent Dunn run opened up the right flank and the Canadian picked Clack who crossed to Prichard only for Hutchings’ shot to get blocked.
Adam Biss gave away a free-kick for impeding Oaks skipper Brad Wilson ahead of Dunn and Connor Cody dealing with the threat posed by Solomon Baugh.
Next, Cody was in smartly on Baugh to tidy up after teammates over-played and Clack delayed laying off to Hutchings as Chi countered.
Shomotun then cut in and had a go but Magee saved easily enough.
Ben Pashley lost the ball when the visitors pressed once more, although Biss bailed him out and Rowlatt cleared the subsequent corner.
Clack’s pass to Prichard was a little strong; the Chi captain was then fouled and Hutchings whipped in a set-piece to the back stick where Dunn caught his marker; and Cody headed safely back to Magee as the away team went route one.
On the half hour mark Haitham did all the hard work but couldn’t pick a pass out to the right wing before a Chichester corner kick fell to Biss who was too far out for his header to trouble McCarthy.
It all got a bit scrappy for five minutes or so before Clack broke the deadlock with his third goal in five league games, lacing in Hutchings’ measured delivery following a superb cross-field ping to the Chi left back by Cody.
A silky turn from Pashley saw him drift past an opponent and carve up the centre of the park before Dunn wasn’t far off with an effort after Rowlatt teed him up.
Dunn’s towering header got an Oaks free-kick away just before the break and Biss was well in on a marauding Gondoh.
The hosts started the second period as they had the first.
Prichard and Clack hooked up to force a 46th minute corner which Rowlatt delivered and Pashley had taken off him by an Oaks defender.
Hutchings lifted the ball back into the mixer but it was cleared comfortably.
Josh Bohui, who replaced Dami Olorunnisomo at the interval, combined with Shomotun down the left for a cross which Pashley turned out for a corner.
Then Shomotun had a shot which Pashley headed clear before Gondoh’s attempt veered away at the last moment.
Next, Biss and Rowlatt exchanged a one-two only for the latter to play a heavy ball to Clack.
Dunn’s deep cross was collected by Haitham who jinked past a defender or two and shot off target.
Haitham fouled Baugh in the visitors’ consequent attack. Wilson took the set-piece and found Matt Weaire at the back stick who could have/should have tucked a free-header home.
Will Hoare talked himself into Jonathan Wilks’ notepad on 57 minutes before Haitham went close as he connected with Rowlatt’s cross but leaning back his effort sailed over the frame of the goal.
Biss blazed a Rowlatt corner high before super perseverance by Prichard saw him cause the Oaks left back all sorts of problems.
Clack then earned Chi another corner up against Karn Miller-Neave. Rowaltt wasn’t far away with an attempt and Biss rattled one against the upright.
Dunn was cautioned on 68 and Wilson struck his free-kick wide of the right-hand post.
The Oaks captain next fizzed a shot narrowly over with 15 to go and was caught by Horncastle who got a yellow card.
A resilient Chi dug in to a man as the visitors threw the kitchen sink at them.
Dunn, Pashley, Cody and Biss all made important headed clearances before a Magee moment came and went as an unnecessary touch conceded an 82nd minute corner which Dunn got out of the area.
Magee redeemed himself with a fine save a minute from the end of normal time and then an audacious overhead by sub Sam Johnson didn’t come off as the visitors sought a share of the spoils.
And in the dying seconds of the game Gondoh fired in a dangerous cross that eluded his teammates but nicked off one of the Chi defenders for a corner which landed on the roof of the net.
Chi face four top six sides in their next sequence of Isthmian south east encounters and up first it’s an away game at Ashford United on Saturday 3rd December (Kick Off 3pm).
Chichester – Magee, Dunn, Hutchings, Horncastle, Cody, Pashley, Haitham, Biss, Clack, Rowlatt, Haitham (Robb, Bello, Moore, Lumsden, Munt).