The two teams have had some right old run-ins at Step 4 over the years.
In Chichester’s inaugural season in the Isthmian League a late Lloyd Rowlatt winner earned the Sussex side a 3-2 triumph in Kent with Rob Hutchings and Ben Pashley also netting.
The Nuts & Bolts travelled to Oaklands Park just three days later and came away with a victory by the same score-line – all five goals coming before the break this time with Kaleem Haitham twice on target. That season was Covid-curtailed, as was the even shorter following one, where the sides didn’t meet. Scott Jones got the winner in another 3-2 at home in 2021-22 and goals from Ethan Prichard and Emmett Dunn in the 94th minute ensured Chi picked up a point away.
And it finished 1-1 in Kent last season after Connor Cody equalised with Chi winning the reverse after Haitham grabbed the only goal of the game and Ashford’s play-off hopes fizzled out towards the end of the campaign.
The visitors came into the match on the back of four league wins in five with their only defeat in this sequence coming in a narrow 1-0 loss to third placed Sittingbourne who beat Chichester mid-week.
There was just the one change to the XI that lined up against the Brickies on Tuesday night as Honore made his first start after an injury lay-off and Haitham dropped to the bench.
The hosts started brightly and after barely 60 seconds Honre’s super header towards No9 Joe Clarke led to a foul and a Rob Hutchings’ set-piece which keeper Jacob Russell palmed out for a corner that Prichard whipped over and Dunn headed wide.
At the other end the Nuts & Bolts won a corner of their own when the ball nicked off Dunn. Tom Carlse took this and Lanre Azeez hit a subsequent wayward effort.
Then silky skill in the box from Prichard led to a chance which was eventually cleared and a poor back pass by Ryan Davidson gifted the visitors two opportunities that first Azeez spurned before Kieran Magee denied Bola.
The deadlock was broken by Honore with his sixth goal of the season in all competitions on 17 as he steered the loose ball clinically past Russell following good work from Prichard.
It might have been 2-0 a minute later when Prichard’s run carved things up only for him to fire narrowly wide of the right-hand stick.
Next, Jamie Horncastle hooked away a Carlse delivery and Bola capitalised on a mistake but hit one off target.
A smart twist and turn from Honore instigated a slick passage of play and Prichard’s cross-cum-shot wasn’t far off.
Magee then gathered Draycott’s attempt at the second time of asking on the half hour mark before his counterpart cleared Clarke’s effort.
Kymani Thomas had a go after a measured cross-field pass to him by Bola which Joe Moore headed away and Clarke couldn’t quite control a quality ball from Honore in the penalty area as Chi threatened once again.
Thomas became the first player to go into Andrew Dunn’s notepad on 35 before Bola and Draycott combined for a drilled shot that fizzed narrowly wide.
And then Thomas bought a soft free-kick which rattled the upright five minutes ahead of the break. The ball rebounded to Bola who smashed in an equaliser.
The home side sought to respond, although a poor first touch by Prichard meant he failed to benefit from Davidson’s pass.
On 45 minutes Hutchings cut inside on a determined run but he was penalised as he tried to pull the trigger.
And in stoppage time Draycott grabbed what proved to be the winner after it all opened up too easily down the flank and the No10 was left with a simple finish for 2-1.
Haitham replaced Moore during the interval.
Josh Clack mishit one 30 seconds in and Magee claimed a cross as Carlse, Thomas and Tariq Ossai combined.
Ben Gorham was then flagged offside after Dunn impeded Bola before Hutchings had a cross cut out.
Clarke got in a superb block when Azeez pressed and Connor Dymond’s effort was deflected into Magee’s gloves.
Chi probed also and Dunn, breaking a challenge, picked Honore although he overhit.
Magee saved magnificently in the 58th minute as Bola drove another effort before Rhyle Ovenden and Davidson joined Thomas in Mr Dunn’s book.
Horncastle headed calmly back to Magee; a Haitham cross to Prichard was too firm; and Clack couldn’t quite find Haitham moments later.
Next, Honore struck a long-ranger high over the bar and Thomas thundered one straight at Magee.
Owen Spicer was introduced for a hobbling Horncastle on 68 before Thomas’ attempt was diverted for a corner that Draycott took and Gorham headed over.
Honore’s snapshot got deflected for a corner kick as the home side searched for that elusive equaliser.
Haitham then had a drive blocked, as did Clarke, after some good football.
Ashford rang a couple of changes on 77 before a Hutchings’ cross was turned away and Dunn failed to keep his subsequent shot down.
With 10 minutes to go Davidson did well up against Carlse but Russell was out swiftly to smother in front of Haitham.
Magee wasn’t really troubled by Ovenden just before Curtis Da Costa made way for Olly Munt.
Clack then might have played it square to Munt on 87 minutes but elected the more difficult option Haitham and the ball went out for a goal kick.
Two minutes later Haitham was impeded 25 yards out but the set-piece came to nothing and with practically the last kick of the game Munt crossed to Honore whose header, sadly for Chi, cannoned off the woodwork.
As a consequence of the defeat, City slip down to eighth place in the league with all four losses coming against teams currently in the play-off spots. Chichester welcome Hastings United next to the MKM Arena on Wednesday 29th November (Kick Off 7:45pm) for a Velocity Cup encounter.
Chichester – Magee, Davidson, Rob Hutchings, Moore, Da Costa, Horncastle, Clack, Dunn, Clarke, Honore, Prichard. Subs – (Bello, Munt, Lee, Haitham, Spicer).