GOALS from Kevin Everest and Tom Saunders earned Crowborough a 2-1 win at Oaklands Park in division one of the Sussex League and mean Chichester have an extremely steep mountain to climb in their quest for division-one survival.
Their failure to beat a moderate team at home – that after taking an early lead – leaves City rooted to the bottom of the table and 17 points from safety.
With two new useful recruits making their debut – Moneyfields’ centre-half Shaun Kerridge and left-winger Gary Buller, signed from Midhurst – there was a sense of optimism in the Chichester camp.
And when a great long ball down the right led to Ben Vassallo rifling in a first-timer on eight minutes, it seemed things were going City’s way for a change.
There was a chance to extend the lead with half an hour gone when Morgan Forry was fouled on the edge of the area, but Joe Briggs’ resulting free-kick was comfortably saved by Crows’ keeper Ben Pryor, who was in danger of being arrested by the fashion police for wearing black tights with an all-orange kit.
For the second half Crowborough were more fired up, while Chichester’s tactics were to try to hang on to their advantage by playing a tight offside trap.
But on 58 minutes the Crows levelled when a Sam Saunders corner wasn’t properly cleared and defender Everest scored from close range.
Then, with seven minutes remaining came the decisive moment which really summed up the lack of good fortune Adie Girdler’s team are having this season.
Sam Saunders collected the ball inside the Chichester half and slipped it behind the centre-back where Tom Saunders had made a run, hitting it first time just inside the box on the right-hand side where it flew past Tosh Batey into the far corner.
CITY: Batey; Cotton, Kerridge, Carrington, James; Buller, Marsh, Johnson, Briggs; Vassallo, Forry. Subs: Sturt, Waite, Grant.