Chichester triumphed 4-1 at Wakefield in the first of two relegation play-off matches.
Their victory in Yorkshire means they can secure their place in the National League for another season if they beat Bromley and Beckenham in Saturday’s midday showndown at Kingsham.
If they lose or draw, the issue of which one team stays up and which two go down will be decided when B&B play Wakefield on Sunday week.
Both teams started tentatively but soon Chichester started to dominate as the midfield of Luke Emmett, Jack Lerwill and particularly Alex Thakore were picking off the Wakefield midfield and pushing Chichester forward.
The frontline of Andrew Sparshott, Martin Gough and Matt Cox were causing havoc in the Wakefield back-line. Chichester’s domination soon showed on the scoresheet when Gough hit the post and Sparshott pounced to expertly follow up and send the ball into the roof of the goal.
Chichester were soon two up when a well-worked attack led to Gough scoring the goal of the game with an upright reverse shot into the bottom corner.
Five minutes before the break, Chichester made it three when Ben Palmer converted a penalty corner with a well-finished drag flick. The Chichester back-line of Kieran Henn, Matt Sewell, Ben Palmer and Dan Brook ensured Chichester went into the break 3-0 up.
The second half started at a frantic pace, Wakefield keen to impose themselves physically but Chichester remaining unfazed.
To the disbelief of many, it was Chichester who found themselves down to ten players for a short period – but they managed to see out this period with good ball retention.
The physicality of Wakefield was being allowed by the umpires, but Chichester stood up to this brilliantly and kept a cool head. Halfway through the half Chichester conceded a penalty corner that was well finished by a Wakefield forward to make it 3-1.
Chichester were quickly back up the other end when Sparshott beat his man down the right and got round the back before slipping the ball to Gough to convert.
Soon afterwards Chichester’s skipper took a blow to the head when blocking a shot but all was okay and he returned to the game with Terry Butcher-style headgear.
The remaining ten minutes were not attractive with Wakefield getting two yellow cards, but Chichester kept their composure.
This was a great display from Chichester, not only by opening up Wakefield in the first half but also standing up and managing the game extremely well in some testing conditions.
So Chichester welcome Bromley and Beckenham to Kingsham on Saturday (midday), when victory will seal their place in the National League for next season.
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