National new boys Chichester gain home comfort

Sam Smith in action for Chichester in the cup win over Worthing   Picture by Louise Adams
Sam Smith in action for Chichester in the cup win over Worthing Picture by Louise Adams

Chichester are making a good start to their first season in the National League - winning league and cup games on succcessive days.

Chichester 4 Richmond 2

NOW: Pensions Men’s Hockey League Conference East

Chichester played their first national league home game in front of a big crowd – and went home happy after keeping their early 100 pr cent record intact.

Both teams had taken three points from their opening games but Chichester started the brighter team, with energetic pressing from the forwards and strong defensive performances from Kieran Henn, Gerald Cox, Stephen Spear and Dan Brook.

They were rewarded for their efforts when a good move down the right culminated in Alex Salmon’s first competitive goal for the club.

Their second came from a brilliant piece of individual skill from Matt Cox. He dribbled past numerous defenders to give himself room at the top of the area to unleash a powerful undercut shot into the Richmond net.

Chichester continued to create chances, with Martin Gough almost deflecting the ball into the goal from a blistering Alex Thakore pass, but missing agonisingly wide. Luke Emmett also went close, but shot just wide.

Dan Godsmark prevented Richmond getting on the scoresheet in the first half with a couple of good saves which allowed Chichester to take their 2-0 lead into half-time.

Richmond came out strongly in the second half and capitalised on two short corners in quick succession to level the game at 2-2 with 20 minutes to play.

It was then that the pendulum swung back in Chichester’s favour. A fast counter attack and great link-up play between Richard Blakesly, Cox and Connor Mclaughlin lead to a fantastic team goal – Mclaughlin with an acute angle finish at the near post.

Chichester got their fourth with a move down the left, the ball coming through Jack Lerwill to Salmon, who slotted a defence-splitting pass to Emmett on the back post and he obliged with a tap-in.

Richmond continued to create chances. A short corner flick was deemed to have hit Stephen Spear on the line, giving them a penalty stroke. But their taker was unable to capitalise as he hit the post.

A collision on the left touchline in the dying minutes saw both teams have players sent off.

Two wins out of two for Chichester in their first National League season is a dream start. They play away to Teddington this week.

CHICHESTER: Godsmark, Henn, G Cox, Spear, Brook, Sewell, Lerwill, Thakore, M Cox, Emmett, Salmon, Blakesly, Robinson, Mclaughlin, Sparshott, Gough.

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Chichester 2 Worthing 2 (Chi won on pens)

Sussex Cup first round

With Chichester having a league game the following day, key players were rested.

This created a great opportunity for those competing for a first-team spot to stake a claim.

But the first half was disappointing, both teams struggled to put a string of passes together. Worthing deservedly took the lead through some sloppy Chichester defending.

Stern words at half-time seemed to awaken Chichester and good work down the right from Ollie Baxter and Neil Pendle led to a penalty corner in Chichester’s favour. Lewis Strudwick stepped up and buried a drag flick into the top right corner.

But Chichester then went back into their shell and Worthing took a 2-1 lead.

With minutes to go Chichester won a second penalty corner. Strudwick’s attempt at goal hit a defender on the line and Baxter pounced to take the game to penalty flicks.

Great saves from Chichester goalkeeper Jon Gotham and decisive flicks from Strudwick, Bejay Ranger, Hayden Jenkins and James Stevenson meant Chichester went through to the next round – despite a disappointing performance.

Chichester Canons 1 Eastbourne Chicks 6

This was the first game in the girls’ Sussex under-16 development league and after some last-minute shuffles, the Canons started very positively with some good passing and movement.

For the first 15 minutes, Canons had the upper hand and were unfortunate not to gain early goals with the Eastbourne keeper making some cracking saves. Eastbourne got into their stride and their couple of handy forwards showed excellent passing and strong finishing to take the score to 3-0 at half-time.

The second half opened with Chichester retaliating with a fine strike from Charlotte Binning.

Eastbourne came straight back and had a spell of penalty corners from which they scored a couple more. To Canons’ credit, they continued to work hard, but lack of extras on the side took their toll and Eastbourne got a further goal before the final whistle.

The scoreline doesn’t reflect the great team play evidenced – the girls worked really hard and were close to scoring a few more, and can take heart.