Scott Jones and Jimmy Wild both bagged doubles on a wet, cold and windy afternoon at Oaklands Park as Chichester City edged past East Preston 4-3 to get back to winning SCFL premier ways following two cup exits.
The game started at a fast tempo. EP had the first clear cut chance in the third minute after a knockdown from Tom Lyne, only for Hayden Hunter to fire wide.
Scott Murfin got through on goal for the home side but his effort was blocked by visitors’ keeper Ben Purkis.
Jones opened the scoring in the 11th minute with a crisp finish after a delightful pass from Dave Herbert.
Hunter went down the other end and forced young City keeper Lewis Turnbull into a fine tackle at the feet of the dangerous striker.
This was followed by another chance for the visitors but Josh Etherington’s effort hit the post and rolled agonisingly along Turnbull’s goaline, with the keeper, making his league debut, diving on to the ball.
The home side doubled their lead. Murfin whipped a killer ball into the centre that gifted Jones with one of the easiest finishes he’ll have all season.
Jones could have completed his hat-trick moments later. A super pass from Lorenzo Dolcetti sent Wild on his way down the left. Wild squared it to Jones but the usually-reliable striker skewed his shot from the edge of the six-yard box.
Dan Huet halved the deficit with a calm finish after the City defence was opened up.
However, Chi went 3-1 up from the spot just before the interval after Wild was brought down by Jack Barnes. Wild picked himself up and confidently tucked the penalty away.
Matt Searle had a chance for the visitors straight after the break but couldn’t quite get to a measured cross.
Jones and then Charlie Williamson had opportunties for City in the 52nd minute before good work from Wild teed up Murfin, who struck the outside of the near post.
Moments later the home side did get their fourth. Murfin turned provider this time and Wild curled the ball into the bottom corner with a sublime finish.
Ryan Quirke pulled one back for East Preston on 73 minutes with a shot that was too strong for Turnbull to set up a tense finish.
Rob Hutchings, on for Jones, did well to win the ball back and after a nice exchange with Herbert got a shot off that was deflected for a corner.
Murfin then had an effort blocked and Herbert sent one high and wide.
Chi finished the game with ten men after Luke Killner was deemed to have handled on the line blocking a fierce George Laughlin header from a corner with a minute of normal time to go. Jake Heryet smashed the penalty into the top corner.
Chi are at home again this Saturday, with Saltdean visiting.