Four points from six made it a good week for Chichester City and they sit third in the SCFL premier division at the end of it.
They came from 3-1 down to beat Worthing United, then had a late equaliser to thank for securing a 2-2 draw at Crawley Down Gatwick.
Ian Worden reports on both games...
Chichester City 5 Worthing United 3
A second half hat-trick from Scott Jones helped rescue City after they trailed 3-1 to United at the break at Oaklands Park.
The visitors went ahead in the seventh minute when Jahobi Maher, barely ten yards inside the opposition half, spotted Ant Ender off his line and caught the City keeper out with an audacious lob to mark his debut.
Straight from the restart, Chi’s player of the month for August, Dave Herbert, broke through, brushing off challenges, only to have his shot blocked. Dan Hegarty went close with a couple of headers.
Paul Elliott brought a save out of Ender from a free-kick after his team-mate Matt Hards was clipped.
Rob Hutchings got Chichester back into it on 24 minutes with a composed finished, latching on to a long ball that caught everybody else out.
Josh Clack’s mazy run into the box on the half-hour ended up in a bit of handbags when the Chi winger went down under a strong challenge. Less than a minute later United were 2-1 up thanks to Hards.
The Mavericks could have gone further ahead when Leon Moore was bundled over in the area but Maher crashed his spot-kick against the bar.
City broke and a chest-bursting run from Herbert put him one on one with Rui Buckland who, rushing off his line, steered the ball away for a corner that came to nothing.
Miles Rutherford’s side pressed for an equaliser but Worthing scored on the stroke of half-time when Maher made amends for his penalty miss pouncing on a rebound from a shot from Elliott following an under-hit back pass.
Rutherford sent Jones on at the interval to play up top with Herbert. And what a difference he made, turning things round for his team with a classy hat-trick in the space of 20 minutes or so.
Jones’ first was a header two minutes in after Hegarty and Clack linked up. Sixty seconds later a super pass from Kieran Hartley picked out Clack but his shot went into the side netting.
Clack hit the woodwork twice inside a minute, then set up Jones for the equaliser in the 62nd minute after a nice pass from Harry Williams.
Herbert missed a golden opportunity to put the home side in front but they did go ahead on 70 minutes through Jones after a nice exchange between the two City strikers.
Chances fell to both forward players in a crazy five-minute spell before Herbert thumped in a worldie to make it 5-3.
Jones had opportunities for a fourth but after beating the offside trap and rounding the keeper he hit the upright. A cheeky Jones back-heel, following a cross from Tafadzwa Kanjanda, almost caught out Buckland, then the hat-trick hero was denied by a great reflex save before heading over a cross.
The two halves in some ways illustrated the month of mixed fortunes it’s been for Chichester.
Rutherford said: “The players all need to be willing to play for 90 minutes, not 45 minutes. I’ve got eight or nine players that have not played consistently.
“We left Scott Jones out but the attitude he showed when he came on in the second half is the attitude we’re expecting from everyone.
“To be honest, we’ve underachieved this first month and we’re not where we should be at this point.
“Our FA Cup loss in the opening match was disappointing and we’ve played poorly at times in August losing two league games on the road.
“We’re doing all right at home but we’ve got to play well consistently both home and away. I’m confident we’ll turn it round.”
That’s nineteen goals now in four games at Oaklands Park. The win moved Chi up to third in the league.
City: Ender, Watts (Williams), Lee, French, Martin (Jones), Hutchings (Kanjanda), Hartley, Way, Hegarty, Clack, Herbert.
Crawley Down Gatwick 2 Chichester City 2
Saturday’s hat-trick hero Scott Jones scored late on to earn City a first away point of the season at Crawley Down, where the hosts were reduced to nine men.
While Miles Rutherford’s side have been scoring goals for fun at Oaklands Park, goals and points have been hard to come by on City’s travels so far this league campaign.
The Chi boss would have been pleased with his team’s start at Haven Sportsfield when Dave Herbert struck in the seventh minute. CDG were level within two minutes through Lee Thomas.
Russell Malton put the home side ahead with 20 minutes to go. Referee Robert King brandished a number of yellow cards and sent off Malton and Williams Peauroux.
The second red was for a handball on the line in a move that ended with Jones equalising in the 89th minute.
Chichester are back in SCFL premier division action against newcomers East Preston on Saturday week (Sept 16).
City: Ender, Williams, Lee, French, Hartley, Kanjanda, Way, Hegarty, Clack, Herbert, Jones. Subs: Watts, Dolcetti, Martin, Pashley, Hutchings.
City have no game this weekend but are back in action on September 16 when they face East Preston in the league.
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