Oxford University have dropped only two points all year, so the trip to play them on their patch was always going to be a tough task for Chichester.
The hosts took the lead with a slick penalty corner routine which was too good for the defence. It was soon 2-0 when an aerial ball was missed by a Chichester defender, leaving a forward to calmly slot the ball past a stranded Dan Godsmark.
Jack Lerwill broke through the Oxford defence but was unable to beat the keeper. The frontline of Cameron Mead and Martin Gough worked tirelessly but were unable to get on the scoresheet.
Oxford extended their lead when another penalty corner was conceded and again Chichester were made to pay for sloppy team defending.
It might have been four when Oxford won a penalty flick for Godsmark taking down an Oxford forward, but the ball was fired wide.
At half-time a few home truths brought Chichester to life.
They started to pass and attack with purpose and pulled a goal back when Lerwill won the ball on the halfway line and made a break for the Oxford D.
After he went past two defenders and entered the D the Oxford keeper fouled him and Gerald Cox stepped up and passed the penalty flick into the bottom corner.
The pace of Andrew Sparshot and Luke Emmett and the skill of Matt Cox enabled Chichester to dominate.
The defence of Spear, Gerald Cox, Matthews and McLaughlin transferred the ball with pace and precision.
Chichester pulled another back when Matt Cox moved the ball to Sparshot, he dribbled past a defender and slipped the ball to Emmett whose shot was saved by the keeper. Mead was there to slot home.
Lerwill, Holten, Sparshot and Matt Cox kept pushing forward and with James Lunn running shuttles down the right wing Chichester’s attacks were looking promising.
Matt Cox created two great chances to level but both reverse-hit efforts were agonisingly wide. The final action saw Lerwill pass to the back post for Gough to tap into an empty goal, but he fell at the vital moment.
Both umpires said it was the best game they’d presided over this season.
Eastbourne Swifts 5 Centurions 3
Ladies’ Sussex League
Defeated but not disspirited, Centurions’ ten players had an excellent game on a beautiful day at Eastbourne.
The first goal went to Eastbourne with the ball tipped over Vaughan after a good initial save. Skinner made a good run down the left, but Eastbourne reclaimed the ball and scored again.
Brown stopped an Eastbourne hit-out, and Thew scored for Centurions, who then pressed for an equaliser.
Dixon got past several defenders and Brooker made some good runs at goal.
An Eastbourne shot was stopped by a foot and the resulting penalty made it 3-1 to Eastbourne at half-time.
Centurions were under pressure from the restart. Edge intercepted well and Sleet made important stops and hit-outs.
Vaughan made sound saves, but an Eastbourne break made it 4-1. Another Eastbourne goal followed off the corner post, but then the game turned around.
Dixon and Brooker took the ball to the D and pressure on the keeper from Thew resulted in Centurions’ second.
Pordage made the final score 5-3.
CENTURIONS: L Proctor, L Thew, N Edge, D Brooker, A Pordage, E Dixon, D Brown, A Skinner, H Sleet, B Vaughan.
Bright’n Flippers 0 Chichester Cherubs 2
Sussex Development League
The Cherubs found themselves facing a strong and well-organised Brighton side eager to press them from the outside.
Alder made a fine double save to keep Chichester at 0-0 and followed it with a commanding performance which gave confidence to those in front of him.
Sowden carved a chance for himself only to see his drive rebound of the post.
Lowther ensured Chichester reached half-time a goal to the good with his shot beating the diving Brighton keeper.
Chichester needed to start the second half strongly to prevent Brighton gaining momentum. Adams drove forward and after a mêlée saw the ball cross the line, only to have the goal disallowed. But Chichester were inspired by this and got the important second through Sowden.
They then repelled Brighton’s best attempts to try to get back into the game eventually running out the winners.
Chichester now have a break in the league for a fortnight.
CHICHESTER: Alder, Gleeson T, Woodruff, Clark, Gleeson J, Gibbons R, Adams, Lowther, Gibbons C, Creswick, Sowden, Palmer, Stemp.
Fareham Under-14s 11 Chichester U14 0
Wessex Under-14 League
Chichester came up against a strong Fareham side in unpleasant conditions.
Fareham’s experience showed from the whistle, with Chichester’s shortage of match practice evident, and Fareham surged into a three-goal lead.
Chichester settled, with Fitzgerald finding space and showing composure in looking to link with Green. Hindmarsh was free in the D but the whistle blew.
The respite was brief with Fareham finding the net three more times before the interval.
The second half saw Chichester more in the game. Their passing was sharper and more accurate and a good chance was forged for Stemp, who shot wide.
The defence was tighter with Gleeson and Palmer making firm tackles. Pickles, one on one with the Fareham keeper, was denied at the last moment.
Three late goals saw Fareham run out convincing winners.
CHICHESTER: Hetherington, Pickles, Creswick, Palmer, Gleeson, Hayward, Hindmarsh, Fitzgerald, Robson, Stemp, Green, Troy, Robinson.