Lee Baldwin believes Wick Football Club were beaten by the team that will go on to be crowned Southern Combination League Premier Division champions on Saturday.
Scott Jones and Jack Lee both struck in the opening 45 minutes, before Lorenzo Dolcetti added a third in the second half to help Chichester City ease to a 3-0 victory at Crabtree Park.
Third-from-bottom Wick remain in the relegation zone following the defeat but Baldwin was full of praise for rivals Chichester.
They currently sit third in the table, level on points with place-above Haywards Heath Town and two off Shoreham and top spot.
Baldwin believes they will go on to win the title this year and said: “Momentum is a massive thing in football and Chichester have got that in abundance at the moment.
“They are a really good team and just had too much for us on Saturday. Having said that, Dan Simmonds had a really good chance at 0-0, then Andy Chick should have scored when we were trailing by two goals.
“If we had taken one of those chances then it could well have been a different story. If you are to pull off surprise results against teams at the top, they are the opportunities you have to take.
“Our season will not be defined by results against teams at the top, we’ve got a run of games against teams around us coming up and what we do in those matches will be crucial.”
A minute's applause was held prior to kick-off in memory of Stuart Hazelgrove a former player and reserve team manager at Wick. The 31-year-old died in the build-up to Saturday's game.
Simmonds skewed a glorious chance over inside ten minutes, before Chichester took control.
Jones struck his 16th league goal of the season after 24 minutes, with Lee adding a second on the half-hour. Simmonds teed up Chick but he somehow blazed over from close range as Wick went in 2-0 behind.
City were dominant in the second half and Lorenzo Dolcetti rounded off the scoring ten minutes from time.
Wick are back in action this evening with a crucial home clash against 14th-placed Crawley Down Gatwick.
With the potential to move up three places and out of the relegation zone with victory, Baldwin sees it as a crucial match.
He added: "There is a great incentive for us this evening knowing a win moves us out of the relegation zone.
"Our next three matches are against teams currently in the bottom half and we need to win at least two of the three."
WICK: Boughton; Eyres, Playle-Howard, Madden, Bingham; Noble, Ediker, R.Brown; Chick, Simmonds, Hutchings. Subs: Harper (Ediker), Gromett (R.Brown), Cox (Hutchings).
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