Late drama as Chichester City are held by Paulsgrove

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Chichester were left disappointed after taking a 4-3 lead late on in their pre-season friendly at home to Paulsgrove – only to concede an even later equaliser.

Chichester looked set to record a pre-season win after Ben Vassallo converted a cleverly-taken free-kick from Joe Briggs on 90 minutes. But they were caught napping moments later when Paulsgrove countered and scored direct from the kick-off.

City manager Adie Girdler remains upbeat about the season ahead of City and is pleased with what he has seen.

Chichester were missing a number of key first-team players and instead called upon youngsters and trialists including Adam Richards, Louis Edwards and Tom Groome, all of whom impressed.

Girdler said: “The performances were pleasing. I was especially impressed with Louis, Tom and Adam.

“It was a good chance for me to assess the youngsters and trialists and I’m very pleased with them.”

City take to the hallowed turf of Moneyfields for another friendly this Saturday.

Girdler added: “We had a lot of first-team players missing so we’ll see where we are next week. I’m pleased and I’m looking forward to Saturday’s game.”

Despite Chichester dominating the early exchanges and taking a 1-0 lead through an exquisite solo effort from Groome and a well-struck shot, Paulsgrove weren’t afraid to shoot and tested City keeper Ben Hitchman on a number of occassions, but the shot-stopper remained resolute to defy Timmy Brown’s side a way back into the match.

The visitors managed to find a way past City’s back-line, with a well-crafted goal. Steven Ledger’s quickly-taken free-kick left Chichester’s defenders chasing shadows and were too late to prevent forward Jimmy Nokes from equalising on 39 minutes.

Paulsgrove struck again on 41 minutes when Gary Bickle headed in Stew Chandler’s looping cross. But four minutes later, Chichester striker Michael Turvey capitalised on a loose ball from sloppy Paulsgrove defending to glide through the backline and level it up at 2-2.

The second period started with Paulsgrove’s Nokes giving the away side the lead.

City made it 3-3 from a penalty given on 60 minutes for a foul against Joe Briggs, which Vassallo calmly dispatched passed the helpless keeper.

Late fireworks ensued when Briggs’ quick free-kick released Vassallo to score – but Paulsgrove equalised again just 14 seconds later when Lewis Brookes met Steven Ledger’s cross.

JACK PRESTON