Chichester’s incentives for their final south open premier division-one match at Oxford were the chance to end the season with the division’s best defensive record and the highest number of goals scored.
They started strongly and kept the ball well in the early stages. Attacking down the right with Alex Thakore and Jim Ellis interchanging, Ellis passed to Martin Gough in the D who found an Oxford foot and won his side a penalty corner.
Dan Brook pulled it out and Thakore fired in the bottom corner to make it 1-0.
It wasn’t long before they made it two. Andrew Sparshott and Alex Baxter exchanged passes and Sparshott was fouled for another penalty corner. Thakore fired his second.
Oxford began to rise to the challenge. Some big tackles came in and the game started to become heated. Both sides picked up green cards, but Chichester kept their composure well.
The half was played out with Chichester maintaining large spells of possesson. Kieren Henn and Luke Matthews were calm and solid at the back.
Long spells of possession from Chichester saw Oxford Hawks happy to keep the score as it was. Only a couple of counter-attacks thretend Chichester keeper Dan Godsmark but he was twice was alert to deny Oxford a goal.
Sparshott was closest to scoring in the second half. A great interception with the ball coming towards him at waist height saw him drive in to the D, and he fired past the keeper only to see his effort come back off the post.
Ellis had an effort turned round the post, Bejay Ranger just missed at the far post after Richard Blakesley fired across goal, and Martin Gough came close.
The win left Chichetser in a very respectable third place, eight points clear of fourth. Chichester ended the season 15 games unbeaten in the league, have the best defensive record and were top scorers with Gough the league’s top scorer.
Chichester face Brighton in the Sussex Cup final at East Grinstead this Sunday (2.30pm).