Chichester City are back on top - but chairman leaves

Chichester in action at Littlehampton / Picture by Derek Martin
Chichester in action at Littlehampton / Picture by Derek Martin

A Scott Jones double against Littlehampton helped Chichester City to a 3-0 win that took them back to the top of the SCFL premier division.

But the club have been rocked by news that chairman Brent Williams has stood down.

On the pitch, it was a pretty good September for Miles Rutherford’s side. After a shaky start to the season Chi picked up four wins and two draws in the month and are now unbeaten in five consecutive away games.

The City striker, who has been in red-hot form this autumn scoring 12 goals in the past six matches, had the game’s best early chance in the 11th minute running on to a through ball. Golds keeper Luke Hutchings managed to steer Jones’ effort round his upright. Skipper Jack Lee headed the resultant corner narrowly wide.

Moments later Kieran Hartley, who put in a real shift at left-back, picked out Jones’ strike partner Dave Herbert with a ball over the top but Herbert was denied by a timely tackle.

David O’Callaghan for Littlehampton fed George Gaskin but Ant Ender got something on his shot. The Chi keeper had been thankful earlier to see Jack Cole’s fierce effort fizz over his bar as the visitors struggled to settle.

City are back in league action when they host Horsham YMCA at Oaklands Park on Saturday.

Alex Laing should have done better with a free header from a O’Callaghan corner.

A couple of chances fell to Chichester around the 20-minute mark. Tafadzwa Kanjanda, making a well-earned first league start, had a goalbound effort flicked away and agonisingly on to the woodwork off a defender – then Lorenzo Dolcetti troubled Hutchings with a nicely-struck set-piece.

Littlehampton might have gone ahead but for an excellent Lee tackle on Laing and an Ender block that prevented the same player getting in barely sixty seconds later.

For Chi, George Way sent an effort over after smart thinking from Dolcetti before turning provider for the opener with a fine delivery that Jones thumped into the back of the net on 36 minutes.

Jones should have had another before the break when he latched on to two separate rebounds off the Littlehampton keeper - the first following up an attempt by Kanjanda, the second blasting over a parried stinging shot from Rob Hutchings.

HT 0-1

Ten minutes into the second half Rutherford made a double tactical substitution as Josh Clack and Harry Williams came on in midfield.

It wasn’t long before Clack and full-back Dan Watts were linking up and posing threats down the right flank as City pressed to extend their advantage.

In the 58th minute Clack set up Watts but he delayed shooting for too long, then on 62, a cross from a Watts-Clack interchange wouldn’t quite sit up for Jones before the No9 pulled another effort wide after Herbert broke through.

Five minutes or so later Chi did double their lead when super work from Lee sent Clack away and the winger put things on a plate for Jones to tap in.

Clack wasn’t far off with a free-kick, Jones rattled the bar with a powerful header and Dolcetti also troubled Hutchings.

Littlehampton could have got back in the game but Ender smothered an effort from Laing, Hartley nipped in to challenge Shaun Charles and Cole fired over.

Chi sub Ben Pashley made it 3-0 on 86 minutes drifting in at the back post with a cool finish to an impressive move that involved Clack, Watts and Dolcetti.

Jones might have picked up a third hat-trick of the month with the last kick but couldn’t keep the ball down.

City are back in league action when they host Horsham YMCA at Oaklands Park on Saturday.

Chichester: Ender, Watts, Lee, French, Hartley, Way, Dolcetti, Kanjanda, Hutchings, Herbert, Jones. Subs: Pashley, Williams, Hegarty, Clack.

IAN WORDEN

* There will be no run in the Sussex Senior Cup this season for City. A second-half goal conndemned them to a 1-0 defeat at Haywards Heath on Tuesday night.

* Brent Williams confirmed to the Observer on Wednesday evening he had left the club. The reasons are not known and there is no word on his potential successor.