Chichester whip up a storm to win in Surrey

Chichester Hockey Club's men's firsts had a fine win at Oxted
Chichester Hockey Club's men's firsts had a fine win at Oxted

With Storm Brian blowing a gale Chichester arrived at league leaders Oxted looking to cause a storm.

After recent narrow losses, Chichester were hungry to get points on the board, but the game started with the visitors on the back foot, absorbing waves of attacks from some well worked Oxted moves.

Another excellent interception from Kieran Henn and some silky connection between Jack Lerwill and Alex Pendle saw the England youngster break into the D and with a thunderous strike he slotted firmly into the backboard to put Chichester 1-0 up.

Chichester were faced with the first of 11 Oxted short corners and keeper Pacanowski was left writhing on the floor having deflected the ball wide with his knee instead of his pads. After a small delay Grizz soldiered on.

Chichester began to gain a foothold with controlled and impressive counter-attacking. Strong tackles and key interceptions from Alex Thakoré, Kieran Henn, Louis Gibbons and Dan Brook ensured stalemate was maintained into half-time, despite only nine Chichester players seeing out the last five minutes.

Coach Merijn Van Willigen was determined not to see a fourth consecutive defeat and strong words gave the side a well-needed boost.

The visitors had the wind on their backs and started to dictate the game with increased possession – but failed to penetrate their opponents’ D.

Some costly turnovers let Oxted challenge, but they absorbed the pressure.

Another excellent interception from Henn and some silky connection between Jack Lerwill and Alex Pendle saw the England youngster break into the D and with a thunderous strike he slotted firmly into the backboard to put Chichester 1-0 up.

Having not been behind this season, Oxted threw players forward but some huge pitch- length aerials from Luke Emmett cleared Chichester lines and gave their opponents much to deal with.

Oxted’s high press was craftily humiliated by Alex Holton’s one-handed magic skills, leaving four players behind him as he broke into midfield to release Alex Sparshott on a lightning run and he calmly crossed to Ollie Baxter at the far post and he coolly slotted his fourth of the season, silencing the rowdy home crowd.

Averaging six goals a game, Oxted felt they could still come away with a result and after a string of short corners the ball controversially struck a Chichester player on the line and a penalty stroke was awarded.

Pacanowski, however, pulled off a superb diving save low to his right to deny Oxted - his third consecutive penalty save the season.

In the dying moments, Chichester thwarted any last opportunities to come away with a well deserved three points;and a clean sheet.