Jimmy Wild in action against Hassocks (Picture: Kate Shemilt)
A couple of weeks ago Chi were right in the SCFL premier league promotion mix. Then only four points separated the top six teams but after back to back losses against Peacehaven & Telscombe and Hassocks Miles Rutherford’s side have lost ground on the chasing pack.
It was the visitors who had the first chance of the game after barely sixty seconds when Harry Williams slipped at the back. Ant Ender luckily managed to get a glove on a well-struck shot.
Five minutes later City’s leading goal scorer Scott Jones’ drive was smothered low down by Haig Kingston.
Ellis Martin, starting in midfield for Dan Hegarty, then sent Kaleem Haitham on his way but when Haitham returned the ball to Martin he shot straight at Kingston.
On 10 minutes a good knock from Jimmy Wild sought out Jones. The ball wouldn’t sit up for the Chi No.9 and he skewed his effort wide.
Haitham then tried his luck from distance before Ryan Peake, in for suspended captain Jack Lee, got something on a corner. His header though was gathered easily enough by Kingston.
Next, after a slick move involving Wild and Jones, Haitham whipped a cross in from the right but this was cut out by Hassocks defenders.
A mistake by Ben Pashley let Michael Death in only for Ender to turn his attempt round for a corner. This was cleared to Spencer Slaughter who rifled a long range shot wide.
Opportunities went begging for Jones and Wild after good work from Lorenzo Dolcetti, before the Italian had a go himself after drifting past a couple of defenders.
A free kick from Martin then picked out an unmarked Jones but he couldn’t get the right purchase on his header.
At the other end Death went on a jinking run and found George Galbraith-Gibbons who headed over.
Chances came and went for the home side just before the break. Sam Ndlovu had an effort turned away for a corner, then Peake threatened with another header before Martin tested Kingston with a fierce strike.
Both Jones and Haitham spurned opportunities straight after the break before Hassocks opened up the City defence with the best chance of the game so far only for Death to blaze over after getting in one on one with Ender.
A minute later and only a last ditch goal line clearance prevented the visitors from going ahead.
The break-through came in the 53rd minute – a crisp finish into the bottom left hand corner by Death.
Chi almost equalised five minutes later after a nice exchange between Dolcetti and Haitham set Martin up but he pulled his effort wide.
Then an opportunity fell to Wild after Dolcetti beat two players in the box.
Just after the hour mark Wild found himself in space again, caught hold of the ball on the half volley but lifted it over the bar.
It might have been 2-0 after 63 minutes but Jake Lindsay hit his shot into the side-netting after an intelligent one-two.
Sixty seconds later Jones went close again with another header.
Rutherford brought Scott Murfin and Rob Hutchings on for Ruben French and Ndlovu but before the home side could settle into their new shape Hassocks doubled their lead through Galbraith-Gibbons after a quick breakaway.
Hutchings almost pulled one back for City with a thunderous shot that flew over.
Play was stopped for some ten minutes when Kingston collided with Jones on the edge of the box and had to be stretchered off.
The home side pressed and a Haitham cross just eluded Murfin and Wild. Haitham then had a header gathered by Kingston’s replacement before, with fifteen minutes to go, Jones appeared to get the last touch on a Murfin cross to get Chi back in things.
Williams and Jones had chances late on but Hassocks held on for an important win that lifts them away from the clubs at the bottom end of the table. City, meanwhile, are seventh, thirteen points off league leaders Haywards Heath.
Second placed Three Bridges travel to Oaklands Park this Tuesday (kick off 7:45pm) before City visit Eastbourne United on Saturday (kick off 3pm).
Chichester – Ender, Williams, French, Pashley, Peake, Martin, Haitham, Ndlovu, Jones, Wild, Dolcetti (Subs: Lis, Hutchings, Murfin)
Updated 15:37 - 16 Apr 2018 by Ian Worden