First Team
Isthmian League South East Sat 18 February Jubilee Field
Three Bridges
  • Leighton (49')
  • Bromage (83')
Chichester City
  • Rowlatt (31')
  • Hutchings (88')

The away side broke the deadlock on the half hour mark thanks to Lloyd Rowlatt’s magnificent strike before Noel Leighton pulled Bridges level three minutes into the second half. Tad Bromage then headed the hosts in front with seven to go only for Hutchings to bag his fourth goal in three in a dramatic denouement.

City boss Miles Rutherford went with the same starting XI that lined up against Littlehampton Town mid-week in that convincing 3-0 victory.

The hosts, winless on the road in the league so far this season but with 26 of their 29 points coming on home turf, began this Sussex derby brightly when Leighton was tackled heavily by Ryan Davidson just outside the penalty area after barely sixty seconds, although a flag had already gone up for offside.

Steve Hutchings was then fouled at the other end by Tad Bromage and Rob Hutchings’ set-piece wasn’t far away from his namesake.

Next, Kieron Pamment broke down the left, cut inside and drilled a shot narrowly wide.

Davidson then got away with another one following a stiff challenge on Pamment which referee Chris Williams didn’t, unlike a fair few, think was a penalty.

Kaleem Haitham pulled an effort off target as Chi pressed again.

Rob Hutchings then drove into the box and forced a decent stop out of Mitch Bromage for the first corner of the match which came to nothing.

Moments later the Chi left back made a super tackle on Curtis Gayler and fed Steve Hutchings whose curling attempt was steered round an upright by Bridges keeper Bromage.

Lloyd Rowlatt’s lovely twist and turn got him away 11 minutes in only to lose control.

Chi centre back Ben Pashley was incensed when after a duel with Leighton a corner was awarded to the hosts. Brannon O’Neill took this short to Gayler who hadn’t been picked up and the No7’s effort wasn’t far away.

The visitors won one of their own in the next attack which Haitham delivered for Joe Clarke to give Bromage & Co something to think about.

Clarke, jinking this way and that, opened up the middle of the park on 16 and found Davidson only for the move to fizzle out.

Chi cranked it up in a two-minute spell where Emmett Dunn was inches away from getting to a Connor Cody free-kick and Rowlatt had a drive saved.

Meanwhile, Leighton flashed one past a post at the other end.

Michael Wilson picked up a yellow for dragging back Rowlatt in the 27th minute and the midfielder’s subsequent set-piece fell to Dunn but the Canadian couldn’t poke it home.

And then Rowlatt netted the opener, his eighth of the season in all competitions, with a thunderous hit.

Chichester might have gone further in front but struck the woodwork twice in as many minutes as Steve Hutchings thumped an effort on to the post and off the keeper’s back for a corner, and then was denied by the bar moments later.

Clarke carved through the centre once more and found Ethan Prichard whose cross was cut out by the Bridges custodian.

Bromage’s counterpart Kieran Magee then claimed Gayler’s delivery easily enough before Clarke got up well and the loose ball was hooked clear.

Steve Hutchings headed a Rowlatt corner kick wide six minutes from the break; Prichard had a fierce drive saved by Bromage; and his defenders deflected Dunn’s effort out for a corner.

The momentum of the game shifted three minutes into the second period when Leighton got a wicked touch on a shot that was going significantly wide and caught out the hapless Magee.

Billy Irving then did well to tidy up a slick move involving Prichard, Dunn and Haitham before a good ball from Rob Hutchings sent Rowlatt away down the left flank.

Leighton’s tug on Rob Hutchings led to a Chi free-kick which Davidson headed off an opponent for a corner.

Prichard’s shot was diverted by a Bridges defender for another corner on the same side which got headed clear.

Leighton saw his attempt blocked as the hosts probed and then a typically mazy run by Cody on the hour opened things up only for the Chi skipper to be impeded.

Rowlatt’s subsequent set-piece pulled a fine stop out of Bromage low to his right.

With both teams pressing for that all important second goal Gayler had a cross cleared by Cody who then made a mistake which gifted Pamment a chance that Pashley steered away on the goal line.

O’Neill joined Wilson in Mr Williams’ notepad before Clarke pulled one wide and Pamment blazed a shot on the turn over the Chi crossbar.

Steve Hutchings threated again following nice control but couldn’t get sufficient power or direction on his attempt.

The visitors made a double substitution with Olly Munt and Joe Moore coming on for Clarke and Haitham on 74.

Munt was soon involved picking Rowlatt for a teasing delivery towards Steve Hutchings.

Gayler then sent over a low cross which Magee claimed at the second time of asking and Prichard had a go with an effort that didn’t quite dip enough.

Next, Leighton ballooned one over and Munt fizzed a cracking drive past the left-hand stick.

Good defending by Pashley saw him deal with danger posed by Bryan Villavicencio before Bridges sub Cam Lawson’s attempt flashed across goal.

And then on 82 minutes centre back Bromage’s powerful header made in 2-1 to the home side.

Another Bridges win at Jubilee Field seemed to be on the cards.

Leighton burst through four minutes later but Cody smuggled the ball out for a corner that O’Neill took and Bromage got to at the back post.

With two to go of normal time Prichard won a set-piece down the left wing.

Rowlatt played this in to the box and Steve Hutchings rose above everyone to glance a header beyond the keeper.

Opportunities came and went at both ends in the three minutes of time added on but neither side could find a winner.

So, Chi’s best sequence of the season continues – five wins with clean sheets and a couple of 2-2 draws.

Up next, third place Beckenham Town at Oaklands Park on Saturday 25th February (Kick Off 3pm).

Chichester – Magee, Davidson, Rob Hutchings, Clarke, Cody, Pashley, Haitham, Dunn, Steve Hutchings, Rowlatt, Prichard (Weinberger, Bello, Moore, Munt).