AFTER two weeks without a game, Chichester welcomed Staines to Kingsham for a south open premier division one game – but couldn’t go into their Christmas break on the back of a win as the visitors ran out 4-2 winners.
Chichester started the better of the teams with Andy Sparshot and Luke Emmett using the width and linking up with the forward line well.
The central midfield partnership of Alex Thakore and Jack Lerwill worked well and Chichester took the lead when Sparshot found Mead down the right, his shot rebounded of the keeper and Lerwill rifled the ball into the bottom corner.
With tChichester captain Steven Spear leading by example, Chichester created three more great chances, but the combination of some good goalkeeping and a lack of conviction from Chichester meant the score remained 1-0 at half time.
The second half was a repeat, with Chichester dominating the early possession and having a couple more unsuccessful attempts on goal. Chichester got the ball in the net but the umpire pulled the game back and gave Chichester a penalty corner instead – to the disbelief of everyone involved.
Two minutes later Staines levelled through a well-worked penalty corner. Chichester were not happy with the decision to award the corner after keeper Dan Godsmark made a great block and was penalised when the Staines forward ran into him.
The equaliser galvanised Staines, who started to dominate the Chichester midfield and penetrate the defence.
Staines scored two quick goals to lead 3-1 and James Lunn and Mead both received yellow cards, which left Chichester chasing the game.
Chichester did pull one goal back when Sparshot scored.
However when Lerwill followed Mead and Lunn with a yellow card the game was all but lost.
Staines sealed the points through another well-worked penalty corner routine.
Chichester did feel a couple of key umpiring decisions did not go in their favour, but they created sufficient chances and after dominating the majority of the game they should have come away with all three points. After a long Christmas break, Chichester have a lot of work to do.
Chichester: Godsmark, Lunn, Holten, Matthews, Spear, Lerwill, Thakore, M Cox, G Cox, Emmett, Mead, Sparshot, Gough.
Chichester Cherubs 7 St Francis Leprechauns 3
Sussex Development League
Chichester finished the first half of the season with another strong performance.
Late changes to the line-up saw James Gleeson make his debut as stand-in keeper, leading to changes elsewhere.
Adams, continuing his rich vein of form, settled the Chichester nerves early on to put Chichester in the lead.
Chichester upped their tempo but despite control in the middle of the pitch could not find the final pass.
A breakdown saw St Francis pick up the ball and surge down the right to beat an exposed Gleeson to level the scores against the run of play.
Only just before half-time did Chichester take the lead again with Adams converting from a short corner.
The second half was a different story with Chichester functioning better as a unit and exploiting the pace of Sowden and Lowther to attack the St Francis back-line.
Goals came quickly for Sowden, Adams twice more and Clark.
St Francis picked up two consolation goals but the game was won before the best move of the game.
The ball was quickly transferred to Sowden, who broke down the right and into the D making a pinpoint pass to Adams, who lifted the ball over the keeper and into the net for his fifth of the game.
Chichester go into the mid-season break top of the league but in the knowledge that they will face tough opposition when the action resumes.
CHERUBS: Gleeson J, Clarke, Gleeson T, Neame, Beresford, Gibbons R, Adams, Lowther, Gibbons C, Creswick, Palmer, Gibbons L.