Rob Hutchings scored twice against Three Bridges (Picture: Kate Shemilt)
First half strikes from Scott Jones and Rob Hutchings (2) helped Chichester put recent troubles to one side with an impressive win against title chasers Three Bridges.
This was a team transformed, in many ways. After a lacklustre showing at the weekend in the defeat at Oaklands Park to Hassocks, Chi played with the verve and vigour that characterised earlier performances in the season.
Jones had the first real chance of the game after five minutes but was unable to keep his shot down.
Then Ellis Martin gave Three Bridges keeper Kieron Thorp something to think about with a nicely struck free-kick.
Hutchings stunned the visitors on 10 minutes after a slick move. Jones played a super pass into the path of Kaleem Haitham who squared the ball to Hutchings and the City forward slotted it away calmly into the bottom left hand corner.
Chichester doubled their lead on 17 minutes when Jones burst into the box and found the back of the net with a cultured finish.
And then five minutes later Hutchings got his second after the ball bounced kindly for him over the head of Nathan Koo-Boothe.
The shell-shocked visitors pressed and might have pulled one back but for a determined header from Martin under his own crossbar.
Chi keeper Ant Ender, who was rarely troubled in this opening spell, claimed a cross comfortably on 25 minutes and then at the other end Hutchings had a fierce shot deflected for a corner that came to nothing.
On the half hour mark Haitham went on another raid down the wing, played the ball back to Kieran Hartley who picked out Jones only for his header to dart past the post.
Haitham was then scythed down on the edge of the box. Hutchings, on a hat-trick, elected to take the free-kick but fired it into the wall.
There was a flash-point after 36 minutes when Alfie Lis, Dan Hegarty’s replacement in midfield, was taken out and bundled into the dugout. Tempers flared and referee Robert King had a bit of work to do.
In time added on only a well-timed tackled from Ben Pashley denied Nathan Crabb in the penalty area.
The visitors then went close from two set pieces, Ender punching the ball away on the second occasion.
The home side started the second period brightly.
Jones got down the left again, only for a defender to cut out his cross.
Then Haitham might have lobbed an on-rushing Thorp but the keeper managed to make a block.
Crabb next fired wide for the visitors before Jimmy Wild hit one over from an awkward angle.
In the 53rd minute Wild went on one of those mazy runs of his and tried to pick out Hutchings but just over-hit the pass.
The City back four of Ryan Peake, Ruben French, Pashley and Hartley defended resolutely to keep George Gaskin and Co. at bay.
Wild had a half-chance on the hour but after a good first touch the ball slipped away from him in the box and defenders snuffed out the danger.
Then Wild headed wide after Haitham beat the offside trap and whipped a cross in.
Three Bridges sought to get back into things with substitute Ben Bacon, ably supported by Matt Whitehead, making an impact down the left.
Pashley came to the rescue again on 73 minutes hooking the ball off the goal line.
Wild picked up a nasty knock and was replaced by Scott Murfin for the last ten minutes and Harry Williams came on for Haitham.
With five minutes to go John Lansdale pulled one back from a free-kick on the edge of the box.
City held on though to condemn Three Bridges to their first league defeat since December.
The win moves Chichester up to fifth, one point behind Horsham YMCA but some distance off the top two spots.
Chi travel to Eastbourne United on Saturday (kick off 3pm).
Chichester – Ender, Hartley, Peake, Pashley, French, Martin, Haitham (Williams), Lis, Jones, Wild (Murfin), Hutchings.
Updated 12:12 - 16 Sep 2018 by Ian Worden