There was just the one change to the Chi starting XI that lined up mid-week and suffered a first league defeat and conceded a first league goal of the season against table toppers Three Bridges with Isaac Bello replacing Lee Seok-jae who popped his shoulder in that loss.
This hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for Chichester at Step 4 of the non-league football pyramid over the past couple of years and Miles Rutherford’s men were beaten by the odd goal in January games in both 2022 and 2023.
Emmett Dunn forged the opening opportunity of the match latching on to a Steve Hutchings’ pass in the box after good work from right back Ryan Davidson. The Canadian had more time than he thought though and dragged his effort wide off the mark.
An inviting through ball to Omar Folkes at the other end was claimed by Chi keeper Kieran Magee on three minutes and Kiye Martin overhit his pass to Connor Tighe moments later.
Magee was forced into a fine save by Folkes after turning centre back Ben Pashley before Magee’s counterpart Matte Pierson dealt with Bello’s chance easily enough.
It was all a bit cagey and low intensity to be honest.
Ryan Green and Alex Andrade Filipe broke down the left and the latter delivered a decent cross for Tighe but Folkes fouled Curtis Da Costa in the follow-up.
Then Rob Hutchings picked out Dunn as Chi pressed on 14 but Pierson got his angles right and the chance went begging.
Chichester won a first corner a minute later which Ethan Prichard took and then he rattled the post off another player.
Rob Hutchings, Prichard and Conrad Honore combined at the mid-point for an attempt that was well off target before Martin and Filipe hooked up and earned a long throw-in only for the Wasps to give away a free-kick.
Dominik Kaja replaced Cameron Reardon who hadn’t recovered from a knock sustained earlier and Prichard, trying to get a cross off, won a corner.
This was only half cleared and Da Costa was brought down in the penalty area. Referee Joshua Langley-Fineing had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and Steve Hutchings dispatched his kick this time into the back of the net to give the visitors a 25th minute lead.
Joe Clarke lost out almost immediately in midfield as Folkes, Filipe and Tighe broke and pulled an impressive stop out of Magee only for Tom Cadman to wildly misdirect the rebound.
Tighe forced Magee into a fine fingertip save on 31 but the ref didn’t think he’d touched it and awarded a goal kick.
Steve Hutchings got on the end of his namesake’s cross seconds later and his shot nicked off a defender for a corner.
Next, Dunn and Honore exchanged passes but the final one to Steve Hutchings was too strong.
Folkes got in one-on-one with Magee after a slick move, although the referee’s assistant’s flag went up for offside; Bello nodded on to Davidson down the right flank; Clarke mistimed another challenge and Walsh, unfortunately for the Grin Army, cracked one against an upright.
Five or so before half time Filipe, a threat all afternoon, cut inside but Bello intervened and then Steve Hutchings and East Grinstead skipper Wilson were involved in a bit of a set-to.
Bello blasted Prichard’s delivery into the side netting in the 44th minute and Filipe whipped one across the face of the goal which no one could capitalise on.
Chi attacked once more but after a determined drive the ball wouldn’t sit up to allow Clarke a firm connection, and both Prichard and Honore spurned opportunities.
Three good chances came and went for Chichester straight after the restart.
Bello didn’t take advantage of the first one and Honore missed the follow up.
Filipe then skipped past Davidson only for Da Costa and another teammate to clear and Honore fired a second effort in four minutes over the frame of the goal.
A super touch presented Prichard with an opportunity which Pierson got a glove on and Dunn couldn’t reach the subsequent deep corner kick.
And then East Grinstead scored as Kaja played in Walsh and his hit went under Magee and inside the post.
Folkes might have put EG ahead following some pinball in the area and Mr Langley-Fineing overruled the hosts’ appeals for a pen on 54 minutes.
The ref though did book Folkes for hacking down Prichard before Honore struck another high and wide on the hour.
Filipe did Davidson again but Tighe was offside as he looked to pull the trigger.
Next, Clarke lifted one over the crossbar; Magee denied Filipe’s excellent effort with an equally excellent save; and Walsh’s fierce shot flew wide.
Cadman then saw his drive steered out for a corner which was delivered by Martin towards the far stick.
Only a superb well-timed tackle prevented Prichard getting in and a mistake from Green gave Steve Hutchings a chance to shoot but the ball wouldn’t curl enough.
A long Kaja throw caused Chi some problems but they cleared their lines and how the ref didn’t think Davidson was fouled on 78 was beyond most of the travelling fans.
Olly Munt replaced Honore in the 83rd minute before Steve Hutchings’ header did little to trouble Pierson.
Da Costa’s challenge denied Martin two minutes later and Pierson got a glove of sorts on Prichard’s shot and then a stonewall penalty was overlooked as Prichard was clattered in the area.
Clarke did well up against Filipe with a minute of normal time to go and Pierson gathered Munt’s headed attempt.
The hosts won a couple of nerve-wracking corners late on which were cleared; Martin fired tamely at goal; and Pashley’s long-ranger on 93 seemed destined to ripple the back of the net but it fizzed narrowly wide.
So, it’s four wins, two draws and one loss in the league for third-placed Chi who are away to Newhaven in the County Cup on Tuesday 17th October (Kick Off 7:45pm) and next have an Isthmian south east ‘home’ game against fellow high-flyers Sittingbourne at Bognor’s MKM Arena on Saturday 21st October (Kick Off 3:00pm).
Chichester – Magee, Davidson, Rob Hutchings, Clarke, Da Costa, Pashley, Bello, Dunn, Steve Hutchings, Honore, Prichard. Subs – (Moore, Horncastle, O’Brien, Munt, Mohamed.