Eastbourne Town 1 Chichester City 2
Southern Combination premier
TEN-MAN Chichester produced a superb performance to turn over title contenders Eastbourne Town at the Saffrons.
In a contest where no prisoners were taken, City stole a 2-1 victory to extend their unbeaten run to 13 weeks.
The match exploded into life on 21 minutes when Town’s Wes Tate broke away in midfield, only to be grounded by Dan Watts’ high tackle which resulted in a straight red card – the referee claiming excessive force had been used in the challenge.
Despite the numerical disadvantage, Chichester were more than a match for their opponents who went into the game having only been beaten once in the league since the start of the season.
A perfect lob over the Eastbourne defence on 42 minutes put Jimmy Wild on a clear run towards goal but he screwed his shot wide.
The referee was again busy on 55 minutes when an off-the-ball incident between City’s Jamie Horncastle and Town’s Alan Foster resulted in yellow and red cards respectively following a consultation with the linesman to unravel what had happened, with players shouting an alleged head-butt had occurred.
Play now really opened up with both sides down to ten players, and in the 66th minute City took the lead with a trademark Dan Hegarty lurking header at the far post following Kieran Hartley’s excellent ball into the danger area.
Eastbourne almost equalised immediately when there was an almighty goalmouth scramble at the other end, but Chichester were firmly in the driving seat on 72 minutes when Hartley played a dazzling one-two with Wild, who buried the ball with Town defenders calling in vain for offside.
A late onslaught from the home side led to a 90th-minute penalty, and although Jason Taylor’s kick sent keeper David Hook the wrong way to reduce the deficit, it was too late to make any difference and the spoils belonged to Chichester.
CITY: Hook, Williams, Edwards, Horncastle, French, Watts, Clack, Hegarty, Wild, Bush, Hartley.
Pagham 1 Eastbourne Utd Assoc 3
Southern Combination premier
The Lions’ winless run continued as a third loss on the spin failed to restore the roar at Nyteimber Lane - a result that spelled the end of the line for manager Jon Tucker, sacked two days later.
Tucker’s side were looking to get their first points of 2016, with the visitors also looking to get back to winning ways after two defeats.
The early exchanges swung from end to end, with Terrell Lewis’ crossing prowess giving the away side much to think about.
Neil Murfin went close and Dan Simmonds could have opened the scoring on the quarter-hour with a run and shot which James Broadbent in EUA’s goal did well to deal with.
Ryan Cox went on a solo run which ended with a through-ball that had no-one on the end of it. James Binfield’s reaction save from Liam Baitup on 22 minutes was the first of many he was to pull off.
Max Hollobone shot well wide of the target but this was the start of sustained pressure by United and a ball in from Dave Smart saw a header well dealt with by Binfield.
Cox shot just off-target, with Simmonds lurking in the background.
In the last five minutes of the first half, the visitors were awarded a free-kick just outside the D. Baitup’s strike sailed wide of the post.
A shot from Lucas Mann was blocked by Murfin as Tobi Hutchinson’s side looked to go in at the break with a lead.
The first corner didn’t come until the 42nd minute. The visitors couldn’t capitalise on their chance, as a shot was well saved by Binfield.
A Lions free-kick saw Cox obstructed, with Jamie Bunn booked for the challenge, and an Andy Brown free-kick led to Lewis picking up the loose ball and shooting across goal.
For the visitors, Dave Smart was shown a yellow card.
Three minutes into the second half, Eastbourne went ahead when a long-range low shot from Lucas Mann slid past an unlucky Binfield.
A minute later it could easily have been 1-1. Lewis was clean through, only to pass when it would have been easier for him to shoot. Broadbent parried the eventual shot for a corner from which Smmonds shot just over the bar.
Another Lewis cross saw Andy Brown head just wide before the Lions were denied a free-kick, and with the home crowd baying at the ref, United sub Ben Weiss raced away with the ball and unleashed a shot that Binfield did well to save.
Pagham’s goal when it came was a result of good teamwork. A free-kick on the left was pinged in by Simmonds, and it pinballed round the area before falling to Scott Murfin, who made no mistake.
Murfin was through on goal a few minutes later but this time Broadbent was equal to the shot. Cox tried to sidefoot one in but again Broadbent got to the ball.
Goal number two for United was desparately unfair on Binfield. Having pulled off a world-class double save, Binfield was beaten by a Mann header.
With less than five minutes to go, there was sustained pressue from the visitors.
Peter Cooper shot wide while Baitup struck the third. A shot from sub Liam Painter pinged back off Pagham’s bar, and there was Baitup to hit home to leave the Lions without a win since before Christmas.
PAGHAM: Binfield, N Murfin, A Brown, Swain, Boniface, Wollers, R Brown, S Murfin, Simmonds, Co. Subs: O’Connor, Van Driel, Gromett.
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