Celebrating the Sussex Principal RUR Charity Cup win last season (Picture: Tommy McMillan)
The RUR Cup holders began their defence of the trophy with a comfortable 5-0 win against Division One outfit Oakwood thanks to a Tiago Andrade hat-trick and two goals from Sam Ndlovu.
Chichester boss Miles Rutherford made changes to the side that beat Loxwood in the mid-week fixture at Oaklands Pak. Steve Herbert came in for Ellis Martin at fullback, Ndlovu started on the wing and Connor Cody moved up into midfield to accompany Burgess Hill duel signing Lukas Franzen-Jones.
Oakwood had the game’s first real opportunity in the 5th minute but Arnold Saurombe blazed over.
Following a foul on Ndlovu, Kieran Hartley picked out Ryan Peake only for the Chi defender to head off target.
Two minutes later Kaleem Haitham and Ndlovu caused the hosts problems at the back after a neat exchange of passes.
And it was the same two players who linked up for the opener after ten minutes – Ndlovu meeting a Haitham cross at the back post.
Just before the half an hour mark Andrade created two chances for teammates – Rob Hutchings skewed the first of these wide and sixty seconds later Franzen-Jones’ effort was blocked after Andrade had held the ball up and laid it off.
The City No.9 then almost got on the end of a great knock from Hartley.
Cody, probably the first half’s stand-out player, tried an ambitious shot from distance before Andrade made it 2-0 five minutes before the interval. Another nice pass from Hartley found Ndlovu on the right. Ndlovu’s delivery fell kindly to Hutchings and Andrade was in the right place to slot home after Hutchings’ shot was partially saved.
The visitors pressed for a third.
A super flick from Cody might have got Andrade in again but the forward was offside; Hartley then almost set up Haitham but a defender managed to beat him to the ball and turn it out for a corner that Peake got a good contact on.
Gicu Iordache replaced Hartley at the break and the Romanian was soon in the thick of things down the left hand flank.
Peake did well to clear an Oakwood cross after a slick move by the home side.
Then the hosts’ keeper just got something on a Cody drive as the midfielder and Andrade played a one-two.
On 52 minutes Franzen-Jones fired into the side-netting before chances came and went for Andrade, Cody and Herbert with the Premier Division leaders now firmly on top.
Andrade’s second goal came on 65 minutes after good work from Ndlovu.
Ndlovu went close himself moments later with a shot on the turn.
Chi’s fourth, followed a terrific piece of skill from Hutchings. Iordache’s shot was parried by Oakwood’s new keeper George Hyde but stabbed in by Andrade from close range for his hat-trick.
Iordache rattled an upright a couple of minutes later before Hyde denied Ndlovu and had his gloves stung by a fierce Andrade strike.
Hutchings, Nodlovu and Iordache were all unlucky with other efforts in a spell when Chichester threatened to run riot.
At the other end Chi shot-stopper Jordan Matthews, who’d had little to do in the half, pulled off a fine save to protect a fifth clean sheet of the season.
Ndlovu’s second goal provided a book-end for City in time added on when good feet helped him jink past a couple of defenders and finish clinically for his third in two games.
Ellis Martin, on for Ben Pashley, then struck the crossbar from a set-piece with practically the last kick of the match.
Elsewhere, in the only game in the Premier Division, Horsham YMCA, who have been in good form since a 2-1 loss at Oaklands Park last month, reduced Chi’s lead at the top to one point after they beat Crawley Down Gatwick to notch their fourth league win in a row.
With Scott Jones back from his ban next week and Dave Herbert, Lorenzo Dolcetti, Terrell Lewis and Matt Axell available once more Rutherford and assistant manager Graeme Gee will have some decisions to make for a testing trip to Saltdean.
Chichester – Matthews, Hartley (Iordache), Steve Herbert, Cody, Peake, Pashley (Martin), Ndlovu, Franzen-Jones, Andrade, Hutchings, Haitham (Way).
Oakwood – Hyde, Jobbins, Prom, Agate, Gallagher, Routley, Gilbert, Saurombe, Saunders, Nourse, Manville, Lemaitre, Constable, Mann, Clark.
Updated 12:21 - 16 Sep 2018 by Ian Worden