Dan Hegarty, seen here in action against Lancing, went close for Chi (Picture: Tommy McMillan)
Reporter: Dan Andrade
This was an unsurprisingly close game between two sides on the same points in the SCFL premier division played out in difficult conditions on an afternoon that saw the return of the Beast from the East. In a fiery encounter referee Jonathan Wilks brandished a number of yellow cards and Chichester's Kieran Hartley was shown a straight red with 15 minutes to go.
City players and fans alike held their breath in the fourth minute when the visitors had a penalty shout dismissed after a strong tackle by Scott Jones on the edge of the box.
The home side then attacked but Kaleem Haitham's shot was wide of the mark.
Five minutes later Eastbourne’s No.11, Aaron Capon chose to cross when surely it would have been easier to shoot.
Ruben French then sent in a free-kick that was just too high for Jimmy Wild.
Next Wild broke down City’s left flank but was unable to pick out Jones or Haitham in the centre as he delayed his pass.
French put a teasing ball in which Dan Hegarty met, but the midfielder’s header skimmed narrowly past the post.
The visitors came close in the 20th minute when Capon crossed the ball and found Evan Archibald, who struck the crossbar with a curling effort.
Chi then went up the other end and Wild set up Jones, however the No.9 could only direct his shot at Greg Nessling before Dave Herbert was also denied by the visiting keeper moments later.
In the 40th minute it was City’s turn to hit the woodwork after French put in a quality delivery which Hegarty powered onto the crossbar only to watch it agonisingly bounce downwards but not over the line.
Hegarty had the first effort of the second half but his goal-bound shot was blocked by Town’s defensive wall after yet more encouraging play by Jones and Wild.
French went on a strong run in the 54th minute and then Chi keeper Ant Ender was called on to make a save from Capon as Town pressed.
The visitors had another penalty appeal turned down in this spell and City’s captain, Jack Lee had to make two crucial tackles in succession.
Another chance came and went for the home side, as Jones dragged his effort wide just after the hour mark.
Moments later Eastbourne’s centre half Sam Willett was fortunate not to pick up a second yellow card for a strong challenge.
The referee did get a red card out in the 74th minute, however it was for the home side. Hartley went in strongly on Simon Johnson, and after consulting with his linesman, the referee gave the defender his marching orders.
This spurred City on, and the 10 men pushed for a winner. Substitute, Scott Murfin should have done better five minutes later but shot straight at Nessling.
City substitute Ryan Peake then had a chance, but saw his header gobbled up by the Eastbourne keeper. This was before a hat-trick of chances for the visitors who were only denied by a mixture of fine blocks by Peake, the woodwork and super work from shot stopper Ant Ender in what was a frantic period.
With two minutes to go Wild was put through by French but Nessling pulled off an incredible save parrying the ball onto the post. From the resulting corner Hegarty looked to have won it, only for Nessling to save again, ensuring the visitors left with a point.
Things remain tight at the top of the league with only three points separating second and seventh place.
Chi travel to league leaders Horsham YMCA on Tuesday and AFC Uckfield Town on Saturday.
Chichester – Ender, Hartley, French, Lis, Lee, Pashley, Herbert, Hegarty, Jones, Wild, Haitham (Subs: Martin, Murfin, Peake)
Updated 09:31 - 19 Mar 2018 by Ian Worden