CHICHESTER were beaten by a division-two side for the second time in a week, going down 3-2 to Wick & Barnham in the Sussex Senior Cup.
The Wickers were in cruise control for the most of the match, building up a 3-0 lead and wasting numerous chances. But Chichester staged a gutsy comeback and two late goals turned it into a grandstand finish.
Chichester were without regular keeper Anthony Ender, who was on duty for Bognor, and stand-in Tom Cowell had plenty on his plate with striker Ash Harper clearly demonstrating why he has scored 96 goals since the start of 2011-12.
The opening goal came on 15 minutes with Harper and Andy Chick combining well and the ball being laid off to the latter for an easy tap-in.
A few moments later Harper won a challenge for possession from Cowell and the ball ended up in the net, but the referee awarded City a free-kick.
Chick drilled in two shots at Cowell in quick succession before Wick collected their second on 36 minutes. With home players swarming all over the City goal, Nathan Parke unselfishly passed to Harper, who couldn’t possibly miss from a perfect position.
Four minutes later Seb Bagyura put in a nasty tackle on Luke Killner, with the City player reacting lividly. The referee clearly wasn’t in the mood for any nonsense and flashed his red card at both men.
Wick went further ahead in the 50th minute with Harper going on a brilliant run down the left before crossing to Chick, who controlled the ball with his chest and banged it in.
Immediately, Parke was guilty of a bad miss and then a sublime move by Harper - who zigzagged past three City defenders - ended with him hitting the post with the goal at his mercy.
With nothing to lose, Chichester gambled on pushing players forward for the final stages and it nearly paid off. Morgan Forry pulled one back with a 20-yarder on 72 minutes and a few minutes later the same player delivered a corner that was scrambled over a packed goal-line by Dom Burbridge.
But there was no further scoring and Wick held on for victory, having made unnecessarily hard work of it.
WICK & BARNHAM: Matthews, Rowland, Boxall, Curtis, Sayers, Parsons, Parke, Noble, Harper, Chick, Bagyura. Subs: Salisbury, Yeates, Hardwell.
CITY: Cowell, Walters, Madden, Heath, Boniface, Case, F Smith, Cody, Gromett, Killner, Forry. Subs: Ansa, Burbridge, van Driel.