Chichester are safe after last-game drama - but only just

Chichester had to wait until after their final league game of the season - which ended in a 3-3 draw at Staines - had ended to confirm they were safe from relegation from South open premier division one.

They heard other results had gone their way and they had finished seventh - level on points with three other teams but safe from the drop.

Chichester went to Staines knowing they may need a win and history was not in their favour after failing to win in their previous five attempts.

Chichester started poorly, with slack passing and control enabling Staines to put Chichester on the back foot.

After ten minutes Staines won their first penalty corner which was converted.

This sprung the young Chichester team into life and Gerald Cox won the ball on halfway. He spread it wide to Lerwill, who fired the ball to the back post for James Lunn to dive on to and deflect in the equaliser.

Chichester dominated the remainder of the half and Spears and Hodge defended like their lives depended on it.

They took the lead when Matt Cox produced a piece of brilliance and beat two players before slipping a pass to Cam Mead, who set up Lerwill for the visitors’ second.

The second half started in frantic fashion, with questionable umpiring decisions beginning to take effect – and this seemed to spur on Staines.

They were soon back on level terms through a deflection which seemed to hit a Staines foot on the way.

Chichester started to lose discipline and after Gerald Cox received a yellow card, Staines took control.

They went 3-2 up with a quick counter-attack which left Chichester with only five minutes to save their season.

With seconds remaining, Chichester won a penalty corner, and the ball fell loose to Mead, who flicked it over the keeper to level the game at 3-3.

Then came the anxious wait - and finally, relief.

CHICHESTER: Godsmark, Spear, Lunn, McLoughlin, Matthews, Lerwill, M Cox, G Cox, Hodge, Mead, Gough, Sparshott, Thakore.

East Grinstead 1 Chichester Cherubs 3

Sussex Development League

Chichester maintained their outside chance of a league win at East Grinstead.

Sitting third at the start of the game, East Grinstead were just one place behind and breathing down Chichester’s neck.

The home side started strongly and Chichester took time to get into their stride.

Eventually though, Chichester established a better rhythm and looked more likely to score as the half wore on.

But in a quick breakaway, East Grinstead raced down their right and forced the ball into the goal off a Chichester stick.

Stung by the setback, Chichester responded well with Palmer striking from the right of the D after Chichester pressure around the circle saw the ball fall to him. He made a yard of space and shot home.

Better still was Chichester’s second before half-time, a set move from a penalty corner that saw Lowther sweep the ball in.

Chichester maintained their work-rate until half-time, exemplified by Stemp working tirelessly in midfield to close down the the opposition and give time for Chichester to regroup.

The second half was cagey with Chichester probing forward but not finding too many opportunities in the D until the ball was quickly transferred across the pitch with Creswick finding Sowden to score the third.

The win secures a top-three finish for the Cherubs but they hope for a little more than that with the visit of league leaders Oxted for their final game of the season this Saturday.

CHERUBS: Alder, Gleeson, Woodruff, Clark, Beresford, Gibbons R, Sowden, Lowther, Gibbons C, Creswick, Palmer, Stemp, Hindmarsh.

Chichester Cannons 3

Brighton & Hove Ladies VII 1

In their last game of the season, the Cannons came out fighting against Brighton and Hove Ladies’ 7s, and an early goal put Chichester in the lead.

Brighton equalised but great work by the Chichester defence and brilliant saves by goalkeeper Rosa Saul kept Brighton from scoring again. Two more goals from the Cannons left the score at 3-1.

Goal scorers were Hattie Prager (2) and Lotte Margarson.

Player of the match was captain Christina Honan, who strengthened the defence and supported numerous attacks.

She will be greatly missed next season as she moves up to play for a higher team within the club.

CANNONS: Debbie Buckley, Klare Cosens, Charlotte Cox,

Isabel Edwards, Lottie Greenlees, Christina Honan, Krysia Karas, Lotte Margarson, Holly Marks, Lyndsey McKie, Hattie Prager, Rosa Saul, Courteney Williams.