Chichester City crash to back-to-back losses

Joe Gromett on the ball for Chichester against East Grinstead  Picture by Kate Shemilt C131385-5
Joe Gromett on the ball for Chichester against East Grinstead Picture by Kate Shemilt C131385-5

It was a week to forget for Chichester City as they lost 3-1 at home to East Grinstead then crashed 7-0 at Littlehampton. Here are the details - City fans look away now.

Chichester City 1 East Grinstead 3

Sussex League division one

CHICHESTER were left frustrated at the decisions of the officials, losing 3-1 to East Grinstead and finishing with ten men.

The problems began in the 11th minute when Wasps’ hot-shot striker Sam Schaaf broke clear and sent a sublime lob into the net.

To most spectators Schaaf was several yards offside, although Grinstead coach Adam Simpson said afterwards he thought the left-back on the opposite flank had played him on.

But the incident seemed to unsettle Chichester, with several other decisions from the officials being brought into question.

City’s best chance of the first half arrived on 26 minutes when Joe Gromett knocked the ball goalwards from close range but keeper Callum Christie saved with his legs.

Immediately after the interval, Grinstead stamped their authority with two quick goals. Michael Belli stretched to receive a cross from the right and poked the ball home through a crowded goalmouth, and then a great delivery from Schaaf enabled Marc Pelling to head in their third.

After this, the Wasps became lazy and the rallying Chichester side pulled one back on 54 minutes, Dan Hegarty netting following a Tom Groom corner.

A forceful cross-shot from Frazer Smith had to be tipped away by Christie on 64 minutes and for a brief time it seemed Chichester weren’t beaten..

However, the closing stages degenerated into stop-start football with a series of City bookings for petty offences. And when Hegarty fouled Matt Geard with seven minutes remaining he was shown a second yellow card.

CITY: Ender, Heath, F Smith, Boniface, Hegarty, Case, Groom, Cody, Gromett, Killner, Burbridge. Subs: van Driel, Hibbert.

CHESTER BROWTON

Littlehampton 7 Chichester City 0

City slumped to their heaviest defeat of the season on a miserable night by the sea in Littlehampton.

The game started poorly from Chi’s perspective. Skipper Pete Hibbert brought down an onrushing forward, and to compound his misery, the referee deemed the offence to have occurred in the box.

Mitchell Hand smashed the resultant spot kick straight down the middle to give the hosts a sixth-minute lead.

Things got worse for the visitors on 15 minutes as Dan Simmonds fired the Golds into a 2-0 lead. His left-footed drive from 25 yards flew past Anthony Ender into the top corner.

Ender twice denied Simmonds a second, but the Littlehampton striker wasn’t off the scoresheet for long. He converted a low cross on 22 minutes to punish Chichester again. However, that wasn’t to be the end of the first-half woes.

The excellent Simmonds completed his hat-trick on the half-hour mark after more lacklustre defending in the six-yard-box.

A 40th-minute red card for the hosts did give the away team some fresh impetus but that was quashed with the flash of Liam Humphries’ right boot.

A lifeline was handed to Chichester with the award of a contentious 65th-minute penalty. But as so often happens with dubious penalties, Josh Case’s effort was spectacularly thwarted by the Littlehampton goalkeeper.

Littlehampton were much more clinical from the spot and their second penalty was converted on 72 minutes to make it 6-0 after Dale Walters felled the impressive Simmonds.

It did get a little bit better for Chi in the closing stages, but late efforts by impressive substitute Fraser Smith could not make a dent in the comprehensive scoreline.

There was even time for ten-man Littlehampton to score a seventh late on.

CITY: Ender, Cody, Hibbert, Boniface, Walters, Kilner, Groom (Smith 25), Case, Heggarty (Blatchford 85), Grommet, Van Driel (Forry 70).

Chichester go to Lingfield in the league on Saturday and Loxwood in the RUR Cup next Tuesday.

JAMES SANDFORD