An Ellis Martin penalty and a second-half strike from new signing Rob Hutchings helped Chichester City to their first pre-season win – 2-1 the score – in a rearranged friendly with Brockenhurst.
There was a more familiar look to the Chi starting XI than the side that had lined up against Salisbury. Kieran Hartley and Josh Clack made their first home starts and Clack might have got on the scoresheet within 60 seconds after good work from George Way and skipper Dan Hegarty.
Scott Jones took a pass from Hutchings, dodged a defender and curled the ball narrowly round the post. Martin had a shot blocked and Way and Jones fired efforts wide.
Against the run of play in the 20th minute, the visitors took the lead. Brockenhurst captain Matt Burt drifted into space and beat Ant Ender with a neat finish after a well worked move.
Less than a minute later City were back on level terms, Martin converting from the spot.
The home side stepped up a gear following the equaliser and in an excellent spell Jones cracked one against the post only for the ball to run agonisingly along the full length of the goal-line. Then Clack wasn’t far away with his free-kick. Jones had what looked like a fair goal disallowed for off-side.
Chi did go ahead just after the break. Hutchings slotted the ball away clinically, latching on to a cross from the left to net his second goal in three games. The former Wick player, who has impressed so far, carved out another chance on the hour mark but couldn’t quite lift the ball over the keeper.
Two more opportunities followed within the space of a minute as Clack got off a right foot shot inside the box and then rattled the woodwork after a skillful run. City also had appeals for another penalty turned down late on.
City: Ender, Williams, French, Hegarty, Lee, Martin, Clack, Way, Jones, Hutchings, Hartley. Subs: Smith, Hooker, Herbert
Chichester City 4 Alresford Town 2
City fans were treated to what they hope will be the shape of things as Miles Rutherford’s men delivered an impressive win over Alresford.
In a classic game of two halves it was the Wessex League outfit, who are being touted by many as Premier Division title contenders, that started the brighter. In fact they had the ball in the back of the net as early as the third minute but the effort was chalked off rightly for offside. Five minutes later Dave Parry struck the post.
The visitors’ pace up front caused City all sorts of problems and for the second friendly in a row Chi found themselves trailing after 20th minutes or so.
Keeper Ant Ender failed to clear, after the ball had been given away cheaply in midfield, leaving a grateful Tom Sands with the simple task to take the ball round him and roll it in.
Chances were few and far between at the other end. Scott Jones had a shot blocked and Rob Hutchings skewed the subsequent rebound wide. Then George Way squared the ball to Ellis Martin but the Arlesford trialist keeper got his body behind a fierce shot.
Whatever Rutherford said at half-time, it worked. City were imperious at times after the break. Way and Lorenzo Dolcetti orchestrated things in the middle of the park and veteran signing Duncan Jupp, who had spells at Fulham and Wimbledon, marshalled a rejigged back four effectively drawing on all his experience.
The visitors just couldn’t cope with rebooted opponents and Jones, so good last season in the air, headed home a peach of a cross from Ruben French in the 47th minute. This was followed by two wonder goals, by first Kieran Hartley and then Jones.
Hutchings made it 4-1 on 68 minutes thanks to a well-placed pass from Dolcetti for his third goal in four games since signing from Wick.
Ender atoned for his earlier mistake with a superb tip-over a couple of minutes later as Arlesford looked to get back into the game.
Jones was denied a hat-trick, narrowly missing with another header and then the visitors set up a slightly nervy last ten minutes for the Oaklands Park faithful pegging it back to 4-2 with a tap in after Ender got a glove to a penalty kick.
City: Ender, Sharp, Herbert, Jupp, Martin (captain), Clack, Dolcetti, Jones, Hutchings, Way, Hartley. Subs: French, Lee, Watts.
Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking sports news where you live.
Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be among the first to know what’s going on.
1 Make this website your homepage
2 Like our Facebook page at facebook.com/pages/Sport-Sussex
3 Follow us on Twitter @SportSussex
4 Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.
Share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!