A stoppage-time goal from skipper Jack Lee helped earn Chichester City all three points in a dramatic comeback after trailing 3-1 at Arundel with 15 minutes to go.
Buoyed by back-to-back wins against Hassocks and Eastbourne United, the Mullets certainly put up a fight and goals from Jordan Dudas, Alex Biggs and Josh Biggs looked to have condemned Chi to their first defeat in seven before the visitors rallied late on to grab a win that lifts them to second place in the league.
City started brightly enough forcing corner after corner. Scott Jones was denied by the Arundel keeper from one in the tenth minute and moments later a lovely pass from Lee picked out Lorenzo Dolcetti who cut into the box, but the Italian’s shot nicked off a defender for a corner.
The visitors had claims for a penalty waved away by referee Richard Sargeant after Scott Murfin was bundled over.
It was all Chi for 20 minutes or so. Jones went close again, Lee got on the end of a Ruben French cross, Harry Williams had a shot blocked and Murfin was unlucky not to make more of a ball over the top from Kieran Hartley.
At the other end Dion Jarvis caused problems a couple of times but Ant Ender pulled off a smart save at the near post and then Lee and Williams cut out Jarvis’ cross following a mix-up between Hartley and Dolcetti.
The opener came from the spot, Murfin coolly slotting a penalty away for his first goal in his second spell at City.
Dan Hegarty wasn’t far off with a header from Hartley’s pass before Dolcetti, in his first game following a back injury, fizzed a fierce drive just over.
The hosts levelled following a period of pressure at the end of the half. Lewis Jenkins had a long-range effort deflected for a corner that an unmarked Dudas rifled in.
Arundel had a real go after the break and the woodwork came to the visitors’ aid when a cross from Luke Heffron cannoned off Ben Pashley before Alex Biggs blasted wildly over the bar.
City boss Miles Rutherford introduced Rob Hutchings and David Mendes-Borges for his debut but Arundel took the lead on 67 minutes with a super strike from Biggs, whose crisp right-foot shot nestled into the bottom corner.
It was soon 3-1. Shane Brazil, scorer of five goals in his past four games, was fouled in the area and while Ender got something on Josh Biggs’ penalty he couldn’t keep it out.
French made way for Kaleem Haitham on 74 minutes and Chi’s impact sub made a difference pretty much straight away. His cross-come-shot sailed in without a touch from Hutchings at the far post.
A slip from Williams gave Jarvis a great chance to play team-mates in that he missed; a nice flick from Hegarty got Hutchings in but his pass was cut out; Williams then cleared an effort off the line after good play from Brazil and a Josh Clack free-kick was headed into the danger area by Lee but no one could take advantage.
Murfin elected for power when clean through and his shot clipped the bar on its way over. But he made amends moments later when Hutchings, who certainly played his part in getting Chi out of trouble, teed him up again and this time Murfin found the net to make it 3-3.
Lee broke Arundel hearts sweeping a Clack cross in in the fourth minute of time added on with practically the last kick.
Chi entertain Pagham in the Boxing Day derby at Oaklands Park (11am).
Chichester: Ender, Hartley, Williams, Lee, French, Hegarty, Clack, Pashley, Dolcetti, Murfin, Jones. Subs. (Haitham, Hutchings, Mendes-Borges, Killner, Ndlovu.
See what Jack Lee and Scott Murfin had to say about the win at Arundel as City gear up to welcome Pagham ... in the Chichester Observer, out on Thursday