It’s all change at Chichester City

Daren Pearce in recent action for City   Picture by Kate Shemilt C140972
Daren Pearce in recent action for City Picture by Kate Shemilt C140972

DAREN PEARCE has taken over from Sean Forry as manager of Chichester City.

The recent signing from Littlehampton, who has years of Sussex League experience as a player and coach, took charge for the first time on Saturday when City lost 3-1 to Broadbridge Heath in the RUR Cup.

Ex-Rocks and Eastbourne Borough player Pearce takes over as Forry – who was already club chairman – switches his focus on off-the-field matters.

Forry said: “The decision was a very hard one to make but with family, business and off-the-pitch commitments at the club, something had to give and after much thought it was clear that my time will be best invested in areas away from the bench.

“I am convinced that on the pitch, things are going, quickly, in the right direction. We have a terrific crop of young, talented players in the senior club (firsts, development squad and under-18s) and, after working for a number of weeks with Daren Pearce, I believe we have the right man to convert that potential into success over the next few years.”

Pearce in the latest in a long line of figures to manage Chichester in recent years and everyone at the club will hope his appointment proves a long-term move.

Forry had been sole manager since Neil Sherlock stepped down as joint boss early this season and before that, Sherlock and Alex Twitchen had done the job since April 2012.

Louis Savage, Adie Girdler and Mark Poulton have all had spells in charge in recent times.

In the past year or so, after a long spell when City struggled to stay clear of the wrong end of county division one, there have been encouraging signs the club are on the cup – with improved first-XI results coupled with the progress of their development team, under-18s and colts and ladies’ sections.

Pearce, who joined City in September to become first-team player-coach, will continue to play in a City squad that has been considerably beefed up over the past few weeks.

The most recent signing is ex-Pagham striker Michael Frangou, who has joined from Littlehampton. His capture is a timely one with main frontman Joe Gromett likely to be out injured for several weeks.

Malcolm Harwood, a one-time City player and former boss of Midhurst and Sidlesham, has been appointed as Pearce’s assistant.

Chichester’s defeat at home to Broadbridge Heath came when they conceded two goals in extra-time.

The Bears had taken the lead after half an hour when winger Jamal Sultan scored from an unmarked position.

City ramped up the pressure as the contest wore on and deservedly equalised with six minutes remaining through Julian Boniface. With their tails up, a City victory seemed on the cards with the game going into extra-time, but two quick goals from Sultan and substitute Max Love gave Heath a quarter-final place.

Chichester visit St Francis Rangers this Saturday and go to East Preston in the Sussex Senior Cup next Tuesday.