Hyde seeks out winner as Chichester City start to dream in the FA Cup again

An 83rd minute Lewis Hyde bullet header sent Chichester through to the next round of the FA Cup as Miles Rutherford’s men turned things round in the second half after trailing 2-1 at the break.

Sunday, 5th September 2021, 6:42 pm
Updated Sunday, 5th September 2021, 6:44 pm
Chichester City in action last week at Faversham - their latest road trip took them to Northwood where they won in the FA Cup / Picture: Neil Holmes

The hosts went in front early on when Ismael Ehui got between the centre backs. Gicu Iordache, who grabbed Chichester’s final goal against Winchester in the previous round, equalised in the 33rd minute only for Northwood to take the lead once more moments later from a well-worked corner where centre back Gradi Milenge stabbed home from close range. Kaleem Haitham levelled just after the hour mark and Hyde completed another FA Cup come-back win for the Sussex side with his first touch after coming off the bench.

There were two changes to the starting XI that lined up midweek in the 4-0 win over Lancing at Oaklands Park. Ryan Young came in for Kieran Magee in goal, Corey Heath returned to accompany Ben Pashley in the heart of the defence and Ethan Prichard joined subs Flori Vucaj, Callum Overton, Max Axell, Ollie Carroll, Lloyd Rowlatt and Hyde in the dug-out.

Woods began the brighter of the two teams and a misplaced Pashley pass teed up an opportunity for Shakeel Morris who forced Young into a save with barely a minute on the clock. Rob Hutchings then did well to tidy up after Leo Decabo and Ehui exchanged a neat one-two but the Middlesex side went ahead four minutes in when Ehui latched on to Ezekiel Williams’ through ball and tucked it beyond Young.

Jamie Horncastle fouled Matt Ayres in the next attack and the Northwood No10 dusted himself down and took the free-kick only for Emmett Dunn to clear. Ayres had another go and drilled his follow-up effort wide. The visitors won their first corner of the match in the 10th minute but Decabo and Morris combined to get Northwood away on a counter which came to nothing.

Young rushed out sprightly to reach a long ball ahead of Declan Nche and at the other end Haitham pulled a stop out of Montel Joseph with one that ricocheted off a defender. Heath, Iordache and Hutchings linked up to earn Chi a second corner which fell to Haitham who went close again but from distance this time. Dunn then picked out Scott Jones, putting in a real shift all game, however, it fell to him over his shoulder and Milenge dealt with things easily enough.

Horncastle headed away an Aaron Petch set-piece and Ayres got to the loose ball first but his effort was blocked. Hutchings stormed down the left wing and cut the ball back to Haitham whose shot was turned out for a corner which Jones met with a header that fizzed over the bar. Chances came and went for Chi in a spell the visitors dominated.

Jones couldn’t quite bring Dunn’s cross down and then Tyrone Madhani swung and missed with players queueing up, before Jones nearly got a connection after Joseph flapped at a delivery. Young pulled off two saves either side of the half hour mark and Chichester got the equaliser, which had been coming to be fair, on 33 minutes as Iordache cut inside from the right and struck a telling shot.

Parity didn’t last long. Morris did Connor Cody down the left but Heath made a super tackle and conceded a corner. It was one off the training ground and after a precise exchange between Ayres and Decabo, Milenge arrived to poke the ball into the back of the net. Hutchings and Cody were both booked for heavy challenges on the stroke of half time and Young had to have his wits about him when Milenge tried to beat him with a cheeky back heel.

Nche was first to try his luck after the break with a fierce shot on the turn that was narrowly wide and then Madhani saw Joseph tip his attempt over for a corner. Iordache whipped this in but Jones, who bagged a double on Tuesday night, spurned a golden opportunity and uncharacteristically headed off target.

Next Iordache’s header glazed the bar and Madhani’s shot nicked off a defender and into the gloves of Joseph. It was end to end stuff and a measured pass to Ehui just eluded him before Young punched clear the second of two successive corners for Northwood.

Overton was brought on for Madhani in a busy period where Dunn drilled one wide; Iordache, lucky perhaps not to see red, joined Hutchings and Cody in David Nicholson’s notebook; and Haitham made it 2-2. Iordache then might have given the visitors the lead but his attempt veered away and a well-timed tackle by Pashley denied Ehui.

Milenge bravely blocked Iordache’s next effort and a brilliant cross from Hutchings was missed by Jones and a distracted Overton headed over. Haitham caused Joseph little trouble with a tame shot with fifteen to go, Nche blazed one over the frame of the goal before Iordache wasted a free-kick and Ayres fired high and wide.

Milenge almost headed into his own net when Haitham sent over a fine cross but it went out for a corner. Iordache delivered this superbly and Hyde, the City sub, grabbed the winner with a fantastic diving header. Chi might have added another but for a dubious offside decision and then Iordache wasn’t far away with a set-piece after Overton had been fouled by Morris.

The visitors saw out the five minutes of stoppage time and will be in the hat for the second qualifying round on Monday.

Coach Danny Potter said, “We started slowly and went 1-0 down quite early on after a mistake. We got back into it and looked after the ball better. I think we deserved to go 1-1. However, a set-piece, lack of concentration and poor marking, as well, let us down before half time.

"We spoke to the boys at the break about things we needed to do in the second half. When we restarted I think we looked dangerous and created early chances. Scott Jones was a real threat in particular and both Kaleem and Gicu got on the ball more. We started to drive and our full backs were also more in the game.

"We deserved our second equaliser but rode our luck a bit. All credit to Northwood, they responded well when it went 2-2 and created a few chances themselves. However, moving into the latter stages of the game I thought there was only going to be one winner. What a great header from Lewis Hyde who’d only just come on.

"We’re pleased we haven’t got a replay on Tuesday and can now concentrate on getting back to the Isthmian league. We thank Northwood and wish them all the best in their league campaign.”

Chichester return to Isthmian south east division action away at Ramsgate on Saturday 11th September (3pm).

Chichester – Young, Cody, Hutchings, Horncastle, Heath, Pashley, Madhani, Dunn, Jones, Iordache, Haitham. Subs: (Vucaj, Hyde, Carroll, Overton, Prichard, Axell, Rowlatt)