A lively start to the new Southern Combination League season saw Chichester chalk up a fine win at Hailsham but then lost at home to Arundel.
Here are the reports from Daren Pearce’s side’s first two matches.
Hailsham 3 Chichester City 5
Southern Combination premier
CHICHESTER opened their 2015-16 campaign with an action-packed thriller at Hailsham, coming from behind to score three times in the last ten minutes and clinch victory.
City handed debuts to Ruben French (signed from Pagham), Tom Atkinson (under-18 for Bognor and Sussex last year) and Stef Lloyd, but striker Scott Murfin was absent having recently opted to join Horsham instead.
Jimmy Wild put City ahead for the first time in the match on 89 minutes, and Hartley added another in stoppage time.
Hailsham had the better of the first half, with George Callingham’s close-range header giving them the lead after quarter-of-an-hour and the same player extending the advantage eight minutes later.
Chichester became more competitive on the approach to half-time, and the turning point arrived on 69 minutes, shortly after Hailsham had lost defender Luke Snashall to an arm injury. Keeper Ben Head missed a goalbound City effort and last man Stuart Lewis deflected away the ball with his hand.
Michael Frangou successfully converted from the penalty spot while Lewis was red-carded, and shortly after Frangou levelled from close range following a counter-attack.
On 79 minutes Hailsham regained the initiative, with a Stevens free-kick rebounding off the wall and Shaun Lee powerfully driving the ball into the net to make it 3-2.
Moments later however, Chichester substitute Kieran Hartley equalised with a superb curling effort from outside the area.
Jimmy Wild put City ahead for the first time in the match on 89 minutes, and Hartley added another in stoppage time, beating his marker to the ball to send in another superb delivery from the edge of the box.
CITY: Ender, Atkinson, French, Pearce, Hibbert, Hegarty, Clack, Edwards, Kilner, Frangou, Lloyd. Subs: Wild, Hartley.
Chichester City 1 Arundel 3
Southern Combination premier
Two early Arundel goals gave Chichester too much to do at Oaklands on Tuesday night.
The Mullets went ahead after just five minutes when their long-ball tactics allowed Simon Clarke, a new signing from Rustington, to slip through and make it 1-0.
The first serious chance for City arrived on 18 minutes when Jimmy Wild whipped in a dangerous shot, but the ball was tipped away for a corner.
Arundel extended their advantage two minutes later when another long ball dipped to Josh Biggs on the edge of the box and he skilfully beat his marker and sent a tight-angled effort just inside the far post.
City pulled it back to 2-1 on 24 minutes when a defensive error left rookie keeper Sam Marsden stranded, allowing the ever-alert Wild to strike from the right flank.
Early in the second half, Chichester missed an opportunity to equalise when Josh Clack’s powerful free-kick was deflected off the wall and Marsden acrobatically blocked the rebound.
But Arundel were awarded a free-kick of their own on 56 minutes, from which Biggs floated a beautiful ball into the top corner to give the visitors what proved to be an unassailable lead.
CITY: Ender, Atkinson, French, Pearce, Hibbert, Hegarty, Clack, Case, Wild, Frangou, Hartley. Subs: Kilner, Woolf.
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