First Team
Isthmian League South East Sat 11 March Reachfields Stadium
  • Fregene (54')
Chichester City

The latest loss, after others against Sittingbourne and Faversham, came as Jason Fregene scored the only goal of the game in the 54th minute from a corner with Chi keeper Kieran Magee seemingly impeded.

There were three changes to the starting XI that lined up at Sittingbourne mid-week. Rob Hutchings retuned at left back, Josh Clack, who grabbed the winner in the reverse fixture at Oaklands Park, got the nod over Olly Munt, and Joe Moore came in for Joe Clarke in centre-mid and Clarke joined Isaac Bello, Alex Weinberger and Munt on the bench.

A first minute free-kick by the hosts was drilled narrowly wide of one of Magee’s uprights before Chi leading scorer Ethan Prichard, on 15 goals in all comps this season, blazed a snap shot high and wide at the other end sixty seconds later.

Hythe keeper Steve Phillips then made a mistake which led to a throw that fell to Ryan Davidson whose cross was cleared.

Emmett Dunn and Hutchings combined subsequently but the delivery caused little danger and went out for a goal kick.

Next, Hutchings got the better of Sam Itauma down the left and won the opening corner of the match.

Lloyd Rowlatt’s kick was recycled by Clack only for Phillips to claim.

Dunn was well in and set Callum Overton up for an opportunity. However, Fregene defended effectively and deflected Overton’s effort out for another corner.

This one was headed away for a third corner which Rowlatt played short to Hutchings for an errant cross.

Ben Pashley had defending to do as the home side pressed and managed to head safely back to Magee before a nicely timed tackle by Hutchings resulted in a one-two with Clack and a cross-cum-shot which Hythe dealt with.

Hutchings then overlapped once more on the left flank only to cut back poorly.

With the visitors edging the first 15 minutes or so Connor Cody met a Hutchings’ dead-ball but Phillips claimed easily enough.

Hythe players and staff were incensed when referee Wayne Horsfall overlooked a pass back to Magee from Cody moments later before a neat exchange between Dunn and Davidson teed the Canadian up for shot on the turn which Phillips got a glove on and gathered at the second attempt.

Super skill from Prichard, Chi’s most influential outlet in this spell, saw him jink into the penalty area but he couldn’t get past the hosts’ skipper Liam Smith.

Chichester had Marvin Hamilton’s long throws to contend with on occasions and coped with one on 27 before a slick reverse pass by Dunn found Overton who had strayed offside.

Dunn did Frannie Collin only to slip on an uneven surface and a referee’s assistant’s flag went up for a tight offside against Duane Acheampong.

Then Davidson crossed too closely to Phillips.

The Kent side spurned a decent chance after Pashley was dispossessed and Magee had to have his wits about him to take a Smith cross following clever inter-play between Smith and his namesake Ethan Smith.

An even better opportunity came and went seven minutes before half time as Itauma pulled his shot off target.

Hutchings stood up to Ituama in the next Hythe counter and got the ball out for a throw which Hamilton launched into the box.

Dunn conceded a corner from this that came to nothing.

Rowlatt, Hutchings and Clack combined for a delivery which was a simple take for Phillips with no Chi player challenging ahead of the break.

Acheampong attacked down the right after the restart but his cross caused Magee little trouble.

Hamilton then sent in a long throw that Rowlatt, not for the last time, headed away, and Magee dealt with the follow up.

Next, Clack and Dunn combined and picked Prichard for a shot which popped up into Phillips’ hands.

Chichester probed again through Hutchings and Clack. Overton’s cross found Rowlatt whose effort was blocked.

And at the other end Johan Carney-Bryan moved the ball on to Smith for a cross that Magee spilled but Acheampong couldn’t capitalise.

Pashley headed another Smith delivery clear before Jack Steventon held Prichard off effectively to win a goal kick.

The goal came after Hutchings conceded a corner on 54 minutes. Collin whipped this in and following a couple of teammates’ headers Fregene turned the loose ball into the back of the net.

Mr Horsfall and his assistant both rejected Chi defenders’ claims Magee had been fouled in the build-up.

Davidson’s shot was blocked as the visitors sought to reply immediately before the right back was yellow-carded for dissent.

Magee got a glove of sorts on Hamilton’s throw on the hour mark and finally gathered.

Cody, Prichard and Hutchings caused some problems, only Davidson couldn’t get the ball under control.

And then Cody and Hutchings tried to get Chi going but no one was there when Rowlatt cut back.

Bello replaced Pashley, still suffering with his hamstring, with 20 to go and Munt came on for Overton.

Rowlatt headed away a Collin set-piece which fell to Ethan Smith whose rocket cannoned off a Chi player for a corner.

The away side earned one of their own which Munt took and Phillips claimed comfortably.

Next, Collin lofted a free-kick in that Lex Allan headed in to the mixer and defenders steered out for a corner.

Magee then joined Davidson in Mr Horsfall’s notepad after getting caught a long way off his line in no man’s land and fouling Carney-Bryan.

Collin once again delivered but Magee punched clear before Fregene forced the Chi shot-stopper into a fine save with his feet.

Weinberger was introduced for Moore on 82 and Steventon made a timely intervention to tidy up and deny Rowlatt.

Phillips eventually got hold of a long Bello throw as the visitors continued to huff and puff without any real cutting edge.

Hutchings was given an odd red card in time added on and at the death Weinberger got upended on the edge of the box and any hopes of getting something out of the game disappeared as Prichard’s free-kick sailed well over the bar.

Chichester lost the corresponding fixture last year, in a season defined by late goals, to an 88th minute winner on a pitch ravaged by Storm Eunice.

After three away games on the bounce Miles Rutherford’s men are back at Oaklands Park on Saturday 18th March to face title chasers Chatham Town (Kick Off 3pm).

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