Kaleem Haitham put Chi ahead on 20 minutes before Connor Cody doubled the lead. Hawks sub Kris Oti pulled one back for the East Sussex side in the 86th minute to set up a dramatic finale in which the visitors’ Tommy Brewer was sent off and leading marksman Ethan Prichard scored twice for the Oaklands Park outfit in the nine minutes of time added on to take his tally to 14.
Ben Pashley, who suffered an injury in the weekend win over third place Beckenham, was unable to start, so his replacement on that occasion, Isaac Bello, came in at right back in an otherwise unchanged line-up.
Whitehawk have been in fine form themselves. Never out of the Isthmian south east top six all season, unbeaten in their previous six league matches, and with the meanest defence.
It was a scrappy affair though in the first five minutes with misplaced passes and poor touches a regular occurrence.
Ryan Davidson fed a decent ball to Callum Overton but the striker couldn’t profit from this.
Moments later silky skill from Prichard jinking into the box led to the first save of the night by Hawks keeper Sam Freeman with a teammate getting in a block to deny Emmett Dunn’s follow up.
Nice play by midfielder Joe Clarke got Chi going again only for his pass to Lloyd Rowlatt to be cut out.
Bello’s long throw-in caused mayhem on 11 minutes before Will Miles spurned an opportunity for the away team heading Charlie Harris’ set-piece over the bar.
Then Prichard, who was constant thorn in Luca Cocoracchio’s side down the right, won the first corner of the game. Haitham whipped this in and Rowlatt had an effort blocked.
Whitehawk countered only for Rob Hutchings to shepherd the ball safely back to Kieran Magee.
Next, Hutchings and Rowlatt hooked up in a move that resulted in a delivery by the former which was headed out for a throw-in.
Alfie Rogers and Luke Robinson pressed down the left flank with Robinson cutting inside only for Clarke to make a telling intervention with a superb tackle.
The opener came after ‘beep, beep’ stuff from Prichard as he did his marker and pulled the ball back to Haitham who slotted home with some aplomb.
Chi attacked again and Overton won a corner off Miles which Rowlatt took this time and Clarke couldn’t quite reach.
Miles got booked for protesting too much in the 24th minute after a coming together between Overton and Freeman.
Harris then impeded Dunn and Rowlatt found Cody with the subsequent free-kick whose slick finish beat Freeman to his left and doubled Chi’s advantage.
It was the third game in a row where a dead-ball from Rowlatt resulted in a Chi goal.
Prichard continued to give Cocoracchio all sorts of problems and earned his side another corner off the No3.
Just after the half hour mark Dunn cracked one over the crossbar; Whitehawk won a first corner; and Nathan Cooper’s timely interception denied a probing Prichard.
The Chi No11 then played a measured pass to Rowlatt in the area and the hosts had another corner which was cleared.
Harris got yellow-carded for upending Dunn on 41 minutes and Prichard forced Freeman into a fine stop before three chances came and went for the visitors – the first two blocked by Magee and his defenders, and the last one a long-ranger dragged off target.
And on the stroke of half time Haitham might have got Rowlatt in but he’d stopped his run and Hutchings broke up the left and picked Overton for a shot that Freeman saved.
Two to the good, Chi sat deeper after the break.
A neat exchange in the 50th minute between Haitham and Rowlatt teed Prichard up who twisted and turned this way and that only for his shot to nick off one of the back-four.
Overton’s strong tackle on Stefan Wright incensed the Whitehawk players but referee Sean Phillips thought the No9 had got something on the ball.
Play continued with Wright still on the deck and Davidson was well in ahead of Rob O’Toole.
Wright limped off inevitably to be replaced by Oti ten minutes in before Freeman gathered Overton’s fierce shot at the second attempt.
Brewer then tried his luck from distance but his effort deflected off an opponent and into Magee’s gloves on the hour.
Miles’ shot lifted high over the frame of the goal and Overton received a lengthy spell of treatment and came off with a bloodied face – former Hawks player Olly Munt replacing him up top.
Next, Davidson had a header palmed away and a weaving run into the area through a cluster of defenders saw Rowlatt keep his balance somehow and still get a shot off.
This was diverted for a corner which Haitham delivered and Clarke headed wide.
Mr Phillips gave Dunn and Miles a talking to for a bit of pushing and shoving before Bello’s firm pass to Rowlatt was collected by the mercurial midfielder who won a corner.
A delicious turn by the No10 resulted in a shot on the turn that deflected for a corner on the other side with 15 of normal time to go.
Bello caught O’Toole and Cody headed clear the consequent set-piece before Harris flashed a drive inches wide.
Prichard then passed to Munt whose cross was met by Rowlatt leaning back and his attempt went over the bar.
Oti dragged the visitors back into the encounter with a header on 86 minutes before Brewer’s nasty tackle on Haitham sixty seconds later earned him a straight red.
In the nine minutes of stoppage time Miles blasted one over as the ten men sought an equaliser and Freeman got down low to block a powerful Rowlatt hit.
Any hopes of a Hawks’ come back were quashed when Prichard took Munt’s slide-rule pass in his stride and cleverly rounded Freeman to make it 3-1.
Prichard then wrapped it up from the penalty spot after Freeman wiped him out at the death.
So, that’s seven wins and two draws in the last nine for Chi who have scored 21 and conceded six in that sequence.
Miles Rutherford’s men have three away trips on the bounce to teams in Kent.
Up first is Faversham on Saturday 4h March (Kick Off 3pm).
Chichester – Magee, Bello, Hutchings, Clarke, Cody, Davidson, Haitham, Dunn, Overton, Rowlatt, Prichard (Weinberger, Hyde, Moore, Munt, Lumsden).