Josh Clack scored twice inside the opening 10 minutes but Dan Perry reduced the arrears on 35 and Kaleem Haitham made it 3-1 just ahead of the break. Ethan Prichard then came off the bench to score the visitors’ fourth. The momentum shifted as Rob O’Toole pulled one back from the penalty spot with 15 to go and Perry added another to set up a grandstand finale. Olly Munt though put Chi out of sight in the fifth minute of time added on after an equaliser was ruled out at the end of normal time.
There was drama at Leylands Park last season too in the corresponding fixture, as there has been between these sides over the years at Step 4, when a late Alex Weinberger leveller for City shared the spoils in a 2-2 encounter.
Miles Rutherford & Co made three changes to the starting XI that lined up in that midweek 6-0 thumping by Horsham in the County Cup. Prichard, Joe Moore, and Gosport-bound Ben Pashley dropped to the bench and Steve Hutchings, Clack and Jamie Horncastle came back in.
October was a challenging stop-start month for Chi what with match postponements and one where they picked up just a single point from a possible nine; conceded a first league goal and loss against table-toppers Three Bridges following an impressive five game unbeaten start to the Isthmian South East campaign; and notched a 1-1 draw at East Grinstead; and a 1-0 loss away to Sevenoaks.
Here, Chichester started on the front-foot and a shell-shocked Burgess Hill were two down early doors.
Isaac Bello got Chi going down the left and his blistering pace forged the first decent opportunity four minutes in.
Rob Hutchings’ subsequent cross was turned on to the bar and out for a corner off Joe Clarke’s powerful header.
Rob Hutchings whipped this over and Clack was there to open the scoring after an injury lay-off.
Sixty seconds later Haitham found an advanced Ryan Davidson whose effort was deflected for another corner kick.
This one was cleared, but on eight minutes the Hillians’ back four failed to close Clack down and he cracked the ball home to double the away team’s lead.
Mo Jammeh then cut inside from the left at the other end but blazed high and wide.
Rob Hutchings and Emmett Dunn combined as Chi pressed again and a Clack header went narrowly wide.
Next, Steve Hutchings lifted the ball over keeper Luke Glover but past the post on 14 and Haitham played a one-two with Clack only to shoot off target.
O’Toole wasn’t far off himself, heading a Kieron Pamment free-kick the wrong side of the sticks.
Perry and Pamment exchanged neat passes only for Chi shot-stopper Kieran Magee to gather easily enough.
A brilliant block by Rob Hutchings denied Pamment on 18 for a long throw from Nic D’Arienzo and a consequent Jammeh attempt which was also blocked.
Kieran Rowe’s dangerous cross at the mid-point was smuggled away by Dunn and the next one wasn’t so good.
Dunn then fired over but was tackled too firmly on the edge of the box as Hill gave away a set-piece that Rob Hutchings blasted into the wall.
Another Bello burst of speed instigated a move where Steve Hutchings, who acted as a decisive fulcrum all game, squared to Haitham for an effort which was blocked, and then headed wide himself.
Clarke won a corner in the 28th minute which Steve Hutchings headed just over the woodwork.
O’Toole became the first player to receive a yellow card on the half hour mark for a foul on Clack and Magee claimed Zack Lawrence’s delivery as Hill countered.
An under-hit Rob Hutchings’ back pass gifted Perry a simple finish to make it 2-1.
Davidson was on hand a minute later to cut out a Jammeh swift break; Magee gathered Pamment’s cross; and Horncastle headed Rowe’s delivery to safety.
Chichester cleared their lines as a Pamment corner found an unmarked Josh Spinks at the back post.
And then a quick counter two minutes before the interval got the visitors on the attack and Haitham made it 3-1 with a lovely finish.
Burgess Hill ominously struck the post moments later with O’Toole sliding in.
There were two substitutions at half time for the hosts as Finn Daniels-Yeomans and the pacey Marcel Powell replaced Rowe and Pamment.
Horncastle did well up against Perry on 47 and a decent run by Clarke resulted in a shot which Glover got to before Steve Hutchings picked Spinks’ pocket but couldn’t find a teammate with his cross.
The No9’s 55-minute long-ranger did little to trouble Glover before Magee was impeded by an offside opponent sixty seconds later.
Horncastle was exchanged for Prichard next and Steve Hutchings and Clack’s move led to a forward pass to Prichard which was just too firm.
O’Toole fizzed a cross over that Perry almost reached; Magee claimed Jammeh’s header; and Bello made a last-ditch tackle on Perry for a corner which was taken by Powell and cleared.
A slick Burgess Hill move involving four players created a chance but one of them should have pulled the trigger and Glover smothered as Steve Hutchings bore down on him.
And then it was 4-1 as Prichard capitalised on a lapse at the back and lashed the ball low into the bottom right hand corner of the net.
Darren Budd was introduced with 20 to go and certainly made a difference.
Davidson should have just cleared the ball on 72 as Perry was impeded in the penalty area. The ref pointed directly to the spot and O’Toole duly converted to make it 4-2.
Munt came on for Haitham as Chi rejigged for the last 10 or so.
O’Toole won a corner off Clarke that was punched out for another on the same side and hooked away.
Powell’s pace caused trouble down the right flank and Davidson headed his threatening delivery out for a corner again.
Bello blocked Budd’s effort but a subsequent mistake in the 83rd minute allowed O’Toole to pick Perry who fired home for 4-3.
An amazing header from Marcus Allen seemingly gave the Hillians an equaliser but the referee’s assistant’s flag went up for offside in a serious momentum shift.
Pashley was slotted in at the back to shore things up for the remaining minutes.
Clarke dug in and won the ball as the clock ticked down conceding a throw.
The referee indicated six minutes of additional time to a game which could have gone either way.
Steve Hutchings latched on to an upfield Magee punt, held it up impressively before finding Munt who delivered the killer blow in the 96th minute with aplomb as Chi scored five for the fourth time in all competitions this campaign.
As a consequence, City move up to the play-off spots with Burgess Hill dropping to 13th place. Next up is a ‘home’ game in the league against Merstham at Bognor’s MKM Arena on Tuesday 14th November (Kick Off 7:45pm).
Chichester – Magee, Davidson, Rob Hutchings, Clarke, Da Costa, Horncastle, Haitham, Dunn, Steve Hutchings, Clack, Bello. Subs – (Pashley, Munt, Jones, Prichard, Moore).