Chichester City crashed to a 5-2 defeat at Horsham YMCA - but made up for it by taking a creditable point at home to Arundel.
Horsham YMCA 5 Chichester City 2
Sussex League div one
CHICHESTER went down 5-2 at the hands of Horsham YMCA, although the final score flattered the hosts who were only 2-0 ahead with 15 minutes remaining.
City gave a belated debut to former Sidley keeper Matt Dann, while ex-Totton defender Gareth Sanashee was also handed his first start.
YM were a little lacklustre throughout the 90 minutes, but the result never really appeared in danger.
Leroy Hyett netted his seventh goal in five games to put the home side in front midway through a quiet first half, with Shaun Findlay crossing for the frontman to smash home from close range.
Centre-back Russell Hartt fired a free header wide before Chris Williams concluded an opening half of very few chances, failing to find the target when well placed.
Williams didn’t take long to atone for his earlier miss, doubling YM’s lead just three minutes after the restart. Hyett was the provider, rolling the ball into the path of his strike partner, who drilled a low shot across Dann into the far corner of the net.
The second goal allowed YM to gain more of a foothold, and although they weren’t fluent they controlled the play with more ease than during the first period.
An instinctive stop from Dann denied Hyett his second of the afternoon from close range before Martin Smith came on from the bench to make it 3-0 with quarter of an hour left, collecting a Brad Curtis through-ball and slotting home.
City reduced the deficit shortly after, the impressive Ken Hagan volleying an exquisite effort from the edge of the area to make it 3-1.
But moments later YM restored their three-goal advantage, substitute Scott Wason latching on to a flicked ball from Hartt to fire in with the aid of a fortunate rebound off the Chichester goalkeeper.
Smith grabbed his second, nodding in from close range after a bullet header from Hartt had initially struck the crossbar, before Morgan Forry added a further late City consolation - when clearly offside.
CITY: Dann, F Smith, Baker, Hagan, Sanashee, Tribe, Cassasa, Northeast, T Smith, Boniface, Forry. Subs: Groom, Potter.
Chichester City 0 Arundel 0
Sussex League div one
Joint manager Neil Sherlock was happy with a point as City showed another side to their game - an ability to defend stoutly under pressure.
The clean sheet was welcome after City let in five at Horsham on Saturday.
Sherlock said: “I was happy with the draw in the end against a hard-working Arundel side. That’s two wins and a draw in the past five games.
“Our final seven games are all tough ones against teams high in the table.
“I have challenged the players and told them that if we’re going to get out of relegation trouble, they have to be brave and play the football Alex (Twitchen) and I know they can.
“If they do that, we can gradually climb away from the bottom three.”
City travel to Ringmer this Saturday. Pau Cassasa and Julian Boniface both picked up knocks against YM and could miss the match.
They are in home action against next Tuesday, when Crowborough visit Oaklands Way.