First Team
Isthmian League South East Sat 25 February Oaklands Park
Chichester City
  • Davidson (27')
  • Prichard (61')
  • Theophanous (32')

There was just the one change to the starting XI that lined up at Three Bridges in a 2-2 draw last time out, with Callum Overton returning up top after a lengthy lay-off for Steve Hutchings, the scorer of four goals in Chi’s previous three matches.

The hosts started with some intensity – Prichard hooking up with Kaleem Haitham down the left to find an overlapping Rob Hutchings whose cross was cleared.

Ben Pashley then opened up the centre of the park and picked out Overton only for the striker to get clattered – no foul thought referee Oscar Whiting.

Davidson did well at the other end moments later to snuff out a Becks’ attack before Stefan Cox strayed offside for the visitors.

Steve Townsend, who bagged the final goal in that 4-1 mauling of Chi in the reverse fixture, broke and played a pass to teammate Louie Theophanous. The Beckenham striker, on eighteen goals this season in all competitions for the high-flyers, did Emmett Dunn but dragged an effort wide.

Keeper Nick Blue was called into action seven minutes in denying Prichard with an outstanding save, where he somehow managed to change direction and turn the ball round one of his posts for the first corner of the match.

Haitham took this and Blue punched clear.

And sixty seconds later Blue was at it again tipping a Lloyd Rowlatt shot that seemed destined top bins over the crossbar for another corner.

Blue then got something on an Overton drive and the subsequent corner was headed away at the near post.

The away side pressed only for Jamarie Brissett to waste a wayward forward ball before Connor Cody was dispossessed by Townsend but recovered effectively and conceded a corner which Chi dealt with.

A poor Dunn header led to another one which Archie Johnson whipped over to Danny Waldren, but Kieran Magee claimed the Becks No8’s free-header.

Hutchings raced past Cox and earned his team a free-kick which the left back took himself only for Blue to gather comfortably.

Johnson sped beyond Davidson but failed to cross, and Magee came way off his line into no man’s land to just beat Brissett to the ball.

Harvey Brand wiped out Haitham in an advanced position on 25 minutes. Rowlatt stepped up and picked out Davidson with a delightful free-kick which the Chi right back headed powerfully beyond Blue to break the deadlock.

Magee then spooned a cross out for a throw-in before Haitham forced Blue into another decent save.

The lead lasted barely five minutes as a through ball carved the hosts open far too easily. However, take nothing away from Theophanous’ sublime first touch and neat finish to Magee’s left.

Chichester lost Pashley to a hamstring injury straight after the equaliser. Isaac Bello came on at right back and Davidson switched inside to partner Cody.

Mr Whiting brandished his first yellow card on 35 minutes, one that would come back to haunt Rob Carter.

Next, Blue pulled off another decent stop and Rowlatt’s cut back with five to go was cut out.

A combination of Cody and Davidson brought Theophanous’ jinking run to an untimely end and Magee saved with his feet to deny the visitors’ striker following a clever set-piece.

Dunn then smuggled away an inviting cross from Theophanous amidst a cluster of players before Hutchings drew a sharp intake of breath from the Oaklands Park faithful with a firm header back to Magee on the stroke of half time.

Becks defended proficiently as Haitham probed down the left and Davidson picked Overton but the Chi No9 couldn’t quite get his pass under control a minute after the break.

Freddie Cray’s crude challenge on Joe Clarke, who worked tirelessly in midfield all game, led to a Rowlatt set-piece which Cray headed clear on 51 before Brissett got on the end of a Thephanous delivery and pulled one off target.

The away team won a free-kick of their own in the subsequent move which Dunn, this time, headed clear.

Bello’s bomb of a throw gave Blue something to think about and a slick exchange of passes resulted in Magee gathering as Theophanous and Townsend threatened once more.

A delightful one-two between Prichard and Overton just after the hour mark set the Chi leading marksman up for what proved to be the winner and his twelfth goal in all competitions this campaign.

Beckenham were then reduced to ten-men after a nasty tackle by Carter, already on a booking, upended Dunn.

The neat set-piece subsequently set Haitham up for an opportunity which he spurned.

Cray was cautioned in the 68th minute for catching Bello not far outside the penalty area. Rowlatt laid the ball off to Hutchings whose shot skewed past the right-hand stick.

Next, Blue got off his line smartly to deny Overton with 15 to go and Man of the Match Davidson won a duel, not for the first or last time, to head the ball safely back to his keeper.

Bello then almost found Rowlatt with an inviting forward pass before Haitham wasn’t far off, cracking one against an upright.

Both sides rang the changes – Olly Munt replacing Haitham. And his fierce hit forced Blue into another fine save after Rowaltt squared a ball to him.

Magee claimed under pressure in the final minute of normal time and Overton drew a foul off Waldren at the other end as the hosts looked to manage the game and run the clock down.

Clarke took one for the team unfairly halting sub Freddie Nyhus’ run in time added on, and Magee pounced on a loose ball in the box at the death.

The win, arguably their best scalp of the season, sends Chichester, the Isthmian south east in-form side, up to ninth having picked up 20 points from a possible 24 in their last eight matches.

Whitehawk travel to Oaklands Park on Tuesday 28th February (Kick Off 7:45pm).

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