Chichester City make Hastings United fight for victory
Second half goals from Kenny Pogue and Tom Chalmers earned Hastings all three points as Chichester suffered a first loss in nine games in all competitions.
City boss Miles Rutherford was forced into one change to the starting X1 that beat Corinthian last time out with youngster Ethan Prichard coming in for an injured Kaleem Haitham.
Chichester started brightly enough and striker Callum Overton forged a chance in the opening minute after nice work down the left by Rob Hutchings and Ben Mendoza but the No9 mistimed his run and was flagged offside.
Lloyd Dawes, who put in a real shift, did well to keep Sammy Hasler’s through ball in play sixty seconds later and won a corner which Hasler whipped over for Finn O’Mara to crash a header against the woodwork. New signing Andrew Sesay gave, not for the last time, right back Ryan Davidson something to think about on the other side with his blistering pace but without any final product. Ben Pashley then sprayed a pass towards Hutchings who couldn’t get it under control.
Sesay was at it again shimmying this way and that through defenders to win a throw-in that Ollie Black launched into the Chi box. The ball was flicked on and popped up a couple of times only for Kieran Magee to eventually gather. Chalmers did Hutchings in the U’s next raid and cut inside into the area. Hutchings recovered and shrugged Chalmers off the ball – nothing doing according to referee Ciaran Fidler, much to the dismay of over 700 vocal home supporters.
The visitors had another Black long throw-in to contend with and then a slick Hastings move saw Pogue poke an effort just past the post. Dawes drifted beyond Hutchings once more but a calm Emmett Dunn got the ball away. Mendoza and Tyrone Madhani combined on the left flank although Louis Rogers claimed Mendoza’s cross easily enough.
Lloyd Rowlatt, who bagged Chi’s opener against Corinthian, found Prichard in the next attack. Prichard spun his marker but couldn’t get a shot off. Hastings countered and Dawes had his shirt tugged by Hutchings before Sesay was inches away from Chalmers’ dangerous delivery. Ryan Worrall picked up the first caution of the night when he caught Hutchings with a heavy challenge in the 20th minute.
A super touch from Overton brought the ball down but he couldn’t elude his markers and then Prichard spurned a decent opportunity at the mid-point latching on to a lovely Rowlatt pass. The hosts broke again through Chalmers and Dawes who teed up Hasler for a shot that veered off target. A coming together between Pashley and Hasler earned Hastings a corner that Hasler delivered for O’Mara to head wide.
Chichester responded with a swift counter attack involving Dunn, Hutchings and Mendoza but the Canadian’s final header caused Rogers no trouble. Overton bravely ducked in to head away another Black long throw before Davidson got a talking to from Mr Fidler for a high tackle. Hasler was then booked for a nasty one on Dunn and both Prichard and Pashley played wayward passes.
The visitors came under pressure in the last five minutes – smuggling away two more long throw-ins and skipper Jamie Horncastle defended brilliantly to clear a ball recycled from a set-piece. Dawes then tried an audacious lob over Magee on the stroke of half time before Craig Stone got a boot on Madhani’s cross and Rogers tidied up.
Rowlatt denied Sesay in the first move after the restart and Hastings’ second one broke down. Sesay was involved again moments later as Dawes and Hasler exchanged passes only for captain Jack Dixon to rattle the bar with a powerful header. Another effort fizzed narrowly wide of the left hand stick before Prichard flicked Madhani’s throw on to Overton who had strayed offside.
Prichard then drove into the area but his cross was just away from both Overton and Mendoza. A composed Magee punched clear ahead of Sesay and Horncastle got something on Hasler’s delivery at the other end.
The deadlock was broken in the 57th minute when Pogue, free at the back post, steered in a corner from close range. Hastings’ lead might not have lasted long but Overton’s attempt cannoned off the inside of the post. Chi won their first corner of the game on the hour mark. Mendoza couldn’t take advantage of this and Rowlatt swept the loose ball across goal.
The No10 then fired one over before the hosts countered and Sesay controlled Dawes’ intelligent pass unfairly with an arm. Chichester were undone for a second time from a set-play when Chalmers rose above everyone and headed Black’s long throw-in beyond a hesitant Magee. Dixon pulled a shot wide just before Rogers got out smartly to concede a corner with Overton rushing on to Rowlatt’s through ball.
Eric-Georges Dellaud replaced Madhani for the last 15 and Prichard’s cut back was cut out following neat play between Hutchings and Rowlatt. Magee then gathered a fierce Pogue effort at the second attempt. A bit of skill by Mendoza bought a free kick for Chi which came to nothing.
Pogue might have grabbed another goal but his misdirected downwards header was claimed comfortably by Magee and in the two minutes of additional time substitute Sam Adams headed just wide for the hosts. Hastings, many people’s title contenders, remain in sixth place, one off the play-off spots, behind Herne Bay, who beat Whitehawk in the evening’s other league fixture.
Ninth placed Chi welcome table toppers Ashford United to Oaklands Park on Saturday (3pm).
Chichester – Magee, Davidson, Hutchings, Horncastle, Mendoza, Pashley, Prichard, Dunn, Overton, Rowlatt, Madhani. Subs: (Carroll, Dellaud, Coote)