Supersubs at the double as Chichester City come back to beat Whitstable
Goals from second half subs Tyrone Madhani and Kaleem Haitham gave Chichester a comeback victory over Whitstable to snap a five-game winless run in the league.
Miles Rutherford’s side picked up just three points from a possible fifteen in October and were knocked out of the FA Trophy as well in a month where they struggled to find that cutting edge, scoring just two Isthmian South East goals.
This game wasn’t always pretty by any means but a welcome three points nevertheless after a barren spell.
Rutherford & Co went with the same starting XI that faced Hythe last time out and following a minute’s silence ahead of Remembrance Day Whitstable’s Dan Eason was the first custodian called into action when he came out to claim an Emmett Dunn cross from the right. Dunn then had an effort blocked after referee Nicholas Metcalfe played an advantage and Callum Overton tucked away Ethan Prichard’s delivery from close range but the goal was chalked off with the Chi No9 offside.
The hosts, who started brighter than their bottom two opponents, spurned another chance a minute later when Prichard dragged a shot inches wide following good work by Ryan Davidson. Whitstable might have capitalised as Dunn was dispossessed in the centre of the park but Ben Pashley tidied up after George McIlroy and Tom Carlton exchanged passes.
Muhammed Cham then drove down the left flank only for Chi keeper Kieran Magee to get out quickly and deny Carlton. A raking cross-field ball from Ben Mendoza nearly picked out Prichard but Eason got there first. The Oystermen won the first corner of the match in the 15th minute which Danny Walder whipped over only for Luke Griffiths to head off target.
Chichester earned one of their own sixty seconds later that Eason punched clear and Rob Hutchings’ follow-up delivery glanced the bar. Davidson, Hutchings and Pashley had defending to do before Mendoza sent Lloyd Rowlatt away but Eason palmed the ball away with Overton offside once again. Next Tom Mills headed clear a Mendoza cross and at the other end calm play by Davidson snuffed out the danger posed by Cham breaking into the box.
Rowlatt had a shot bravely blocked that went out for a corner and it was from this that Whitstable countered and took the lead against the run of play as Cham tucked home a measured Carlton pass on the half hour mark. Chi pressed for the equaliser but the Kent side’s back four cut out Rowlatt’s ball intended for Overton, dealt with Davidson’s drive into the area, charged another attempt down and ended a mazy Prichard run.
Ollie Gray might have doubled the advantage from a 42nd minute corner but he steered his header narrowly wide. And just before the interval Mendoza had a cross gathered by the keeper and another effort diverted for a corner that was cleared by Walder on the half time whistle. Mendoza was in the thick of things after the restart and Gray did well to head his delivery out for an early corner. Rowlatt took this one and Lewis Hyde hooked the ball on to the roof of the net.
There wasn’t much in the way of fireworks for next ten minutes or so with moves breaking down regularly due to poor passing. Mendoza had a shot blocked and fired a second one wide just before Haitham and Madhani came on for Prichard and Mendoza in a double substitution an hour in. Walder wasted an opportunity hitting the ball straight to Hutchings and then the two Chi subs were involved in a slick passage of play where Chi won a corner.
Hutchings’ shot did little to trouble Eason after a nice cut-back to Dunn set the Canadian up for an effort that cannoned off a defender and out for another corner. A super run by Hutchings led to the set-piece from which Madhani levelled some 25 yards out in the 71st minute for his sixth goal of the season – two of which have come from direct free kicks.
Madhani then cleared a Walder corner and Haitham delivered a cross that a teammate headed goal-bounds only for Whitstable to smuggle the ball away. With 12 minutes to go Haitham skipped past a player or two, cut inside and grabbed what proved to be the winner – a lovely finish into the right hand corner.
Skipper Jamie Horncastle tried his luck with a long-ranger that sailed over and Pashley steered a composed header under pressure back to Magee. The Chi No1 who’d had little to do all game was out swiftly to get to the ball before Gus Barnes and the Whitstable midfielder earned his team a corner which came to nothing in the next attack.
Madhani opened the visitors up with a jinking run in the 87th minute only for the move to fizzle out and Scott Jones, who replaced Overton, was involved with Madhani and Dunn but Haitham’s delivery was cleared easily enough. Matrell Deslandes fouled Dunn in the same spot that Madhani had scored from – his free kick this time crashed into the wall.
In the five minutes of time added on a Jones flick on to Rowlatt fell to him in an offside position and a curiously awarded corner gave Whitstable a last chance saloon opportunity but Chi got the ball away and Walder’s follow-up effort flashed wide of the mark.
Chichester are in cup action at Oaklands on Tuesday (9th November, 7:45pm) before travelling to Sevenoaks for an Isthmian south east game on Saturday (13th November, 3pm).
Chichester – Magee, Davidson, Hutchings, Horncastle, Hyde, Pashley, Rowlatt, Dunn, Overton, Mendoza, Prichard. Subs: Haitham, Madhani, Carroll, Jones, Wood.