Twelve months ago in the corresponding fixture, the Wasps were content to sit before Merrick James-Lewis grabbed a sucker-punch strike with eight minutes to go.
Here, the home side netted twice in the opening 15 but Chi clawed their way back into the match thanks to first goals of the season for Ben Pashley on 27 minutes and Olly Munt in stoppage time ahead of the break. Chichester dominated much of the second period but couldn’t break down their resilient hosts who took all three points after Kieran Magee conceded a penalty late on which Samuel Williams converted.
Chi came into this Sussex derby after a sequence of three tough road trips away at top six sides – a heavy defeat against Beckenham sandwiched between commendable draws at promotion chasing Ashford United and league leaders Ramsgate.
Isaac Bello slotted in at right back for regular starter Ryan Davidson and Munt replaced injured striker Tom Chalaye.
After a minute’s applause to mark the passing of football legend Pele and England World Cup winner George Cohen, Ethan Prichard won the visitors an early corner which Lloyd Rowlatt took and East Grinstead keeper Matte Pierson punched clear.
The ball fell to Pashley but Wasps defenders smuggled it away for another corner once again dealt with by Pierson.
Rowlatt, Prichard and Josh Clack then combined for a low cross that the hosts’ custodian claimed.
Next, Matt Daniel bought a soft free-kick. Andrew Biggs delivered only for Magee to get a glove on it and concede a corner which Biggs lifted in and Bello headed away.
Daniel then broke the deadlock on 11 minutes after Magee raced out to clear only to strike the ball straight at Daniel who had the simplest of tasks of slotting the ball into an empty net.
An unsettled Chi lost possession as East Grinstead probed but Jamie Horncastle got a fine block in to deny Tahjae Anderson.
The hosts though doubled their advantage when Chichester failed to clear a 14th minute corner and centre back Ryan Green powerfully headed home.
Emmett Dunn then set Prichard up for what might have been an immediate reply only for the No11 to fire off target.
Rob Hutchings and Horncastle instigated a Chi move but Munt played in a wayward ball.
Bello certainly caught the eye and was clipped, after a neat piece of skill, by Danny Uchechi who got a talking to by ref Jonathon Wilks.
Rowlatt then forced Pierson into a decent save tipping the midfielder’s effort round his right-hand stick.
Clack and Dunn hooked up as the visitors attacked once more only for the Canadian to crack one into Pierson’s midriff before Munt and Prichard exchanged passes and a defender deflected Clack’s effort for a corner which came to nothing.
Dunn was on the end of a heavy challenge 27 minutes in but regardless managed to send Munt away down the right flank. The Chi No7 picked out Pashley who swept his shot beyond Pierson.
Back in the game and with their tails up, it was all Chichester for the next five minutes or so.
Clack pulled an impressive stop out of Pierson with one on the turn; Connor Cody was well in on Uchechi; Harrison Parker skewed an attempt horribly wide; and Prichard was inches away from an equaliser.
In time added on Pashley got fouled without caution and the subsequent clever set-piece found Hutchings whose neat cut-back wasn’t capitalised on.
The hosts were under the cosh as first Munt had a shot blocked, then Prichard’s cross was headed clear, and Grin hooked away the loose ball after good work between Clack and Hutchings.
Pierson spilled a Clack shot but recovered quickly before his poor clearance fell to Prichard, who with lots still to do, rode a challenge driving into the box, twisted this way and that, and teed up Munt to level things at 2-2.
It finished all square when the teams met at Oaklands Park on Good Friday last season after Magee saved an 85th minute penalty and Clack rescued a point with a late, late strike.
On this occasion, both sides pressed in the opening second half exchanges.
An awful Cody back pass offered Uchechi a 53rd minute opportunity that the East Grinstead striker somehow pulled wide of the mark before Clack drove down the left and crossed towards Bello who was flagged offside.
Munt then dragged an effort wide after nice play between Rowlatt, Prichard and Dunn.
Next, Munt was booked for catching new boy Charlie Greenwood but teammates coped with Biggs’ free-kick.
Horncastle made a super tackle on Parker breaking up the right wing and Magee claimed Tariq Straker’s cross easily enough.
Bello carved through the Wasps’ midfield on the hour, however, his delivery was cleared before a Pashley ping sent the right back away again only for Dunn to slip.
Munt picked a pass, turned slickly, and fed Prichard but the move fizzled out.
Dunn then failed to really test Pierson before both Horncastle and Bello got in excellent tackles to snuff out danger.
And with 19 to go an outstanding set-piece from Hutchings crashed against the East Grinstead crossbar.
Changes were rung with Anderson coming off for Williams and Kaleem Haitham replacing Munt.
Haitham was soon in the thick of it for Chi as Hutchings sent him scampering away only to be impeded.
Pierson then cleared a Clack cross and gathered Cody’s long ranger at the second time of asking.
Next, Haitham did all the hard work but couldn’t find Dunn with a pass before Bello made way for Joe Clarke.
And moments later a calamitous Magee mistake gifted the hosts a late Christmas present, conceding an 84th minute penalty and picking up a yellow for his troubles.
This one wasn’t saved as Williams coolly tucked away what proved to be the winner.
Chichester might have equalised again though with a minute of normal time to go when Clarke’s thunderous shot struck both the crossbar and a post.
Pierson denied Haitham following up and then punched clear Rowlatt’s consequent corner and got another glove on the ball as Rowlatt recycled.
Chi drop into the bottom half of the table as a result and welcome seventh place Sheppey United to Oaklands Park on Saturday 7th January (Kick Off 3pm).
Chichester – Magee, Bello, Hutchings, Horncastle, Cody, Pashley, Munt, Rowlatt, Clack, Dunn, Prichard (Haitham, Moore, Biss, Clarke).