Two defeats made it a weekend to forget for Chichester’s men’s side - while the ladies had a stalemate with East Grinstead.
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West Herts 10 Chichester 3
Now Pensions Conference East
Chichester had a defensive nightmare to kick off their double-header weekend.
Like Chichester, West Herts were promoted into the National League for this season and both sides were lying in mid-table ahead of this clash at Watford.
Chichester, who had lost 5-1 at home to the same opposition, started poorly, with possession given away too easily to invite pressure.
They were punished for the sloppy start and were 2-0 down within five minutes. This was a sign of things to come and it was 5-0 by the time 25 minutes were up.
Finally Chichester got themselves a very small foothold in the game when Richard Blakesley’s deflected effort found its way into the bottom corner.
Chichester came out for the second half keen to put in a performance to be proud of but things soon took a turn for the worse when two simple individual errors saw Chichester go 7-1 down within five minutes of the restart.
The visitors started to show glimpses of what they are capable of and scored twice – a second from Blakesley and one from Matt Cox.
But they were unable to eradicate the errors from their defensive display and conceded three more.
Richmond 4 Chichester 2
Now Pensions Conference East
Chichester travelled to bottom side Richmond the following day needing to hit the ground running after Saturday’s big defeat.
They were not helped by half the team turning up less than 30 minutes before the start after getting caught in the London traffic.
Chichester played the opening five minutes without a goalkeeper but managed to survive a penalty corner and kept it goalless.
Back to full strength, Chichester took hold of the game and gained the lead when Jack Lerwill’s pass found Dean Symons, who rounded the goalkeeper only to be taken down. A penalty stroke was awarded and up stepped Matt Cox to calmly score Chichester’s first.
Richmond started to dominate possession and got themselves back on level terms through a well-worked counter-attack.
Just before the break, Chichester went down to ten men when Alex Thakore was judged to have fouled in the D and was given a yellow card.
The resulting corner was dispatched into the top corner and Richmond led 2-1.
The second half was a battle between two teams fighting for their survival in the National League.
Chichester created numerous chances but were unable to convert. Finally an equaliser came when Martin Gough and Symons linked well for the latter to fire home.
With five minutes to go, disaster struck. What seemed a perfectly-timed tackle from Richard Blakesley saw him receive a yellow card and Chichester had to see out the remainder of the game a man down.
The resulting free hit led to a scramble in the Chichester D, an original short-corner decision was changed to a goal after the ball fell loose after the whistle and was tapped in when everybody had stopped. To Chichester’s dismay, the goal stood.
Chichester pressed again but two more chances went unconverted before a late penalty corner was controversially given and converted by Richmond to seal a 4-2 victory.
Chichester felt hard done by but know they had the chances to win the game.
The defeats leave Chichester five points above the drop zone with two games to go. This Sunday, Chichester welcome to Kingsham (1.30pm) local rivals Brighton, who are level on points with them. All support welcome.
Chichester PP Ladies 0 East Grinstead III 0
Chichester are in a reasonably-comfortable position in the league with only three games to go.
East Grinstead’s team were a mixture of youth and experience, as were Chi, so the game was evenly balanced, which produced a competitive match.
It went from end to end, the Chi midfield working hard and backed up by strong defence. Merryn Young had an excellent game.
The opposition had a strong defence and Chichester couldn’t get a shot on target. The passing was good but a few wayward balls meant Chi put themselves under more pressure than necessary.
The second half was much the same with a great determination from both sides to break the deadlock – but this didn’t happen.
Chi PP: April Cowley, Tracy Austin, Sarah Pack, Lindsay Hudson, Meg Goring, Jenna Greenaway, Merryn Young, Jenny Horton, Rachael Mealyer, Emily Ursell, Sarah Jessop, Lottie Greenlees.