Dave Herbert puts Chi ahead (Picture: Daniel Harker)
First half goals from Dave Herbert, Ellis Martin and man of the match Scott Jones eased holders Chichester City into the quarter finals of the Sussex Principal RUR Charity Cup in this mid-week encounter with in-form SCFL division one side Steyning.
Chi were without Ben Pashley so Martin partnered Connor Cody at the heart of the defence. Jones came back into the side up top with Rob Hutchings playing just behind him and Sam Ndlovu, who scored City’s third goal on Saturday against Crawley Down Gatwick, started in place of Josh Clack. Herbert returned to midfield with Gicu Iordache on the bench as manager Miles Rutherford ensured players game time with a busy week or so of fixtures coming up.
The visitors, who got past Eastbourne Town, the only side to beat Chichester at home this season, in the previous round had won five of their last six matches including a 1-0 win against table-toppers AFC Varndeanians at the weekend.
Chichester and Steyning have the meanest defences in their divisions so a close affair was on the cards but Chi were 3-0 up within twenty minutes as one of the country’s highest scoring Step 5 outfits started on fire.
Hutchings almost got in in the fourth minute when he charged down keeper Jamie Banasco-Zaragoza’s clearance.
The visitors then forced a couple of corners and City shot-stopper Jordan Matthews produced a fine block with his feet when the ball was played back in from one of these.
Martin pulled a free-kick wide before Kaleem Haitham’s shot was narrowly off target following a good knock from Kieran Hartley.
With 14 minutes played Herbert capitalised on a mistake at the back and put Chi ahead with a composed finish.
Three minutes later and it was 2-0. Jones, who worked tirelessly all evening, was fouled in the box and Martin tucked his penalty kick under Banasco-Zaragoza diving to his left.
The Chichester No.9 then shell shocked Steyning with a third, his ninth in all competitions this term.
Mayckol Sabino and Chris Neatherway went close to pulling one back and Ndlovu had an effort deflected for a corner.
Jones then glanced a header onto the bar before Hartley tried his luck from distance either side of a long range drive from Dominik Ozga, who bagged both goals against Eastbourne Town in the previous round, that was gathered easily enough by Matthews.
Next a Steyning set-piece picked out Joe Fitzpatrick only for the No.4 to head off-target.
And just before the break Chi forged another two opportunities but Hutchings blazed over and Haitham’s shot was blocked.
The home side took their foot off the gas in the second half somewhat.
Matthews had to have his wits about him three minutes in coming out to clear after Cody slipped.
Herbert then dragged a shot wide latching on to a super pass from Ndlovu after the skilful winger drifted past defenders.
Moments later Hutchings spurned a great chance at the back post with a header when Ndlovu and Terrell Lewis linked up nicely down the right flank.
Steyning sub Connor Bull wasn’t far away with an effort on the hour mark before a Haitham cross just eluded Jones at the other end.
Bull had another go in the 67th minute but Matthews pulled off a smart save and then was thankful to see Fitzpatrick head past his right hand upright as the Chi keeper sought a fourth clean sheet in a row.
Haitham had two chances at the death, crashing a shot against the post in the 89th minute and then flashing a fierce drive inches wide after Herbert picked him out with a precision pass.
Chichester travel to Eastbourne United in their RUR quarter final tie but are in cup action again this weekend when they host Windsor in the second round of the FA Vase (Kick Off 3pm).
Chichester – Matthews, Lewis, Hartley, Axell, Cody, Martin, Ndlovu, Herbert, Jones, Hutchings, Haitham. Subs: Rutherford, Anders, Iordache, Potter, Callnon.
Updated 10:24 - 30 Dec 2018 by Ian Worden